Social History

The social history collection illustrates the social, economic and cultural history of Petersfield and the surrounding villages.

An important part is the archive which includes oral history recordings, maps dating from 1868 to the present day and thousands of photographs of Petersfield through the ages. The oral history collection has been built up over the last 10 years and includes memories from local people on World War II, school days, working and social lives of local residents. The photograph collection dates from the beginning of the 20th Century and shows how the town and area has changed, local people and events. We have also recently acquired an incredible collection of photographic negatives taken by local newspaper photographer, Don Eades. This is a valuable documentation of Petersfield during the 1960s-1990s. We are currently working on a project with The Arts Society to digitise these negatives for research and display.

The object collection includes locally made products such as Minibrix from the local Itshide rubber factory, signs from local pubs and shops as well as tools and objects used in the home. Among the highlights are a penny farthing made on the Isle of Wight and the Coat of Arms from the former magistrates court.

We have been given archives from groups and societies which include:

  • Petersfield Urban District Council
  • Petersfield Scouts
  • Petersfield Area Historical Society
  • Petersfield Society
  • Flora Twort
  • Operatic Society
  • Music Festival

We are actively seeking more. If you have anything you would like to donate to the collections, please contact the Head of Collections and Exhibitions at

  • Fascinating. An impressive display of information. Loved the Trench Art. 

  • Very interesting - excellent guides to help us with information. 

  • Thank you for a lovely visit. Very friendly staff and great to have lots for a toddler to enjoy. We'll be back!

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