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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
bottleSH765 Social History 1868-19481871
bottle1989.801 Social History circa 19101624
box2007.901 Social History 1850-18642694
box2015.195 Social History 1899-19291545
braille board, braille pricker1988.255 Social History 3278
Bridge and White Rails at Bridgehouses, SheffieldK1909.56 Social History about 18403542
Britannia Works on Love Street, Sheffield2008.360 Social History 19711947
brush2013.158 Social History 1920-1958642
bugle1970.128 Social History 1914-19185901
bus pass1990.229 Social History 1939-19451017
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