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Social History

The Social History collections contain thousands of objects representing the everyday and exceptional lives of local people from around 1500 to the present. It aims to cover all aspects of the domestic and social lives of those for whom Sheffield is home.

The range of items in the collection is vast, from small personal objects to entire shop interiors. These include a 1960s hair salon, a traditional butcher’s shop and Preston’s c1900 chemists which stood on the corner of West Street and Mappin Street in Sheffield until the 1980s.

There are relics from the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars including letters, pin badges, ration books, gas masks and uniforms.

Toys, from teddy bears and dolls to card games, jigsaws, farmyards, lead animals and clockwork toys, show how children have played through the years.

Costumes, sewing machines, theatre posters and programmes, typewriters, samplers and domestic equipment are just a selection of the many items in the collection that reveal how people lived in the distant and recent past.

There are also over 1,000 topographical paintings, prints and drawings of Sheffield and the surrounding area dating from around 1750 to the present day. This collection provides a unique visual record of Sheffield’s dramatic transition from country idyll to urban sprawl.

Show Objects
Name of ObjectAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
telephone2009.91 Social History circa 1995328
television1981.951 Social History 1952-19533538
television1985.92 Social History 1933914
Terrace View, Diana Robing and Monument to Godfrey Sykes1973.478(5) Social History 1880-1899325
The Burial of Sir Francis Chantrey in Norton ChurchyardK1905.10 Social History 18411079
The Milk BoysK1929.10 Social History 1840-18464510
The Museum from the Terrace1973.478(4) Social History 1880-1899327
The New Midland Station, Sheffield1972.450 Social History 950
The Sheffield Book of Recipes2000.45 Social History 1935-1936597
The Tilt ForgeK1923.5 Social History circa 18555526
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