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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 ObjectSorted AscendingAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
Interior of Doctor Corden Thompson's house, SheffieldK1934.33 Social History circa 1870557
tobacco holderK1935.8 Social History 1815-18257133
Cottages in London Road, Highfields, SheffieldK1938.32 Social History circa 1850692
Sheffield from HeeleyK1938.42 Social History circa 18301235
Sheffield and the Valley of the Don, 1863K1948.1 Social History circa 18631681
Sheffield from Shrewsbury RoadK1952.1 Social History circa 18381881
Whiteley Woods Bridge, SheffieldK1952.2 Social History circa 187016318
Beauchief Abbey, SheffieldK1955.13 Social History 18844820
River Don after the Flood, SheffieldK1955.4 Social History 1865870
Interior of Holmehead Wheel, Rivelin Valley, SheffieldK1955.6 Social History 1879968
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