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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
Turners WheelK28. Social History 1864-18752805
typewriter1970.57 Social History 1892-19374728
Union Wheel, SheffieldK1956.9 Social History 18773952
vacuum cleaner2009.281 Social History 1960-1969940
vest2019.38 Social History 20192031
View of Sheffield from Sharrow Moor1981.707 Social History circa 18384295
Village of Malin BridgeK28. Social History 1864-18754601
Wagwood Stone Quarries, Dore, DerbyshireK1922.5 Social History 18885660
walking stick1973.640 Social History 1840-18609775
wallet2013.159 Social History 1920-19584135
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