Portsmouth’s local and social history collections have been built up since 1945, based on the handful of items that survived the bombing in 1941. The collections now number well over 30,000 items.
The collections include an enormous variety of material. Household items date from the 17th Century to the present day and include furniture, stained glass, lighting and heating equipment, electrical goods and kitchen appliances. Official civic activity is well represented in the collections, with regalia, weights and measures, uniforms and equipment from the City police and fire services, including two fire engines, school equipment and items from the public dental service and local psychiatric hospital. There is a collection of costume, especially strong in items for the mid-20th Century. Working life in the city is represented by a wide range of tools, artefacts from local businesses and tradesmen, including iron founding and wheelwrights. There are oral history interviews about many aspects of local life.
Please go to our Enquiries page if you have an enquiry about this collection.