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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/FoundSorted AscendingTimes Viewed
tobacco holderK1935.8 Social History 1815-18257456
fare collection box1960.85 Social History circa 18907562
sampler1985.60 Social History 18828195
car1977.774 Social History 1920-19308320
crimping machineL1942.51 Social History 1860-19008333
St Paul's Church, SheffieldK1906.1 Social History 8628
Grinder's HullK1923.3 Social History 9183
sampler1971.756 Social History 1840-18779386
walking stick1973.640 Social History 1840-18609599
badge2008.77 Social History 1980-19899860
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