Our experts History Research Group

Dr June Balshaw 

Dr Balshaw is the Head of Department for History, Politics and Social Sciences.

She has contributed to The Memories of War project which brings together many of the memories that people have shared over the last two years. The project team is made up of staff, students and volunteers and has conducted and transcribed hundreds of individual and group interviews. In addition to oral testimonies and visual images, the website includes a range of free teaching and learning resources for use by schools and colleges. Please visit: www.memoriesofwar.org.uk

Dr Balshaw teaches on a range of history based courses as well as delivering guest lecturers to other programmes across the university.

Her research interests include: 

  • The British suffrage movement
  • Bigamy and gender relations during the First World War
  • The development of public history as a discipline
  • Family and community history
  • Oral history
  • The WVS

She is also interested in the use of archives as teaching and learning resources and actively encourages students to get involved with local archives. She also works with local schools to promote history and support the AS/A2 level curriculum.

Dr Victoria Carolan

Victoria Carolan is a cultural historian specialising in maritime history and film. She completed her doctoral thesis, British Maritime History, National Identity and Film 1900-1960 at Queen Mary, University of London in 2012. She previously held a two year research fellowship at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht funded by the Dutch Government, looking at maritime identities through history, philosophy and photography. With a first degree in Literature and Film she completed her MA in Maritime History at the Greenwich Maritime Institute in 2002. At Greenwich Victoria is responsible for the Greenwich Memory Network and a joint organiser of the Great War Greenwich project.

Dr Sandra Dunster

Appointed by the University of Greenwich to the Victoria County History (VCH) Senior Research Fellow post in October 2007, Dr Dunster researched and wrote a history of the Medway Towns for the VCH, England's Past for Everyone paperback series, to be published in 2013. An essential component of this project was the involvement of thirty volunteers from the local community in the research process. Materials from this VCH project are available at http://www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/explore/.

Dr Dunster is now a senior lecturer in history and teaches on the history undergraduate programme, offering courses relating to the early modern period at levels five and six and has been programme leader since 2011. She is now working on aspects of the history of Greenwich for a forthcoming publication. In addition to this general history of the area, she is also researching the impact of the Greenwich pensioners on the local community in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Dr Claire Eustance

After completing her PhD at the University of York in 1993, Claire completed a three-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Greenwich (then based in Woolwich) where she contributed to research project on masculinity and male support for women's suffrage and served as a joint editor of the journal Gender & History.

Claire subsequently moved into education project management and steered a series of initiatives aimed at widening participation in learning among marginalised and excluded communities in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham and London.

In 2009 Claire returned to the University of Greenwich to manage a JISC-funded curriculum design and development project based in the Office of Information & Library Services (ILS). The opportunity to return to her research interests in gender history and to teaching proved too enticing to resist and so after the ILS project ended Claire applied for her current post as a lecturer in the School of Humanities.

Claire has published widely on the women's suffrage movement and is in the early stages of developing a project that will revisit the histories of the movement, aimed at coinciding with the centenary anniversary of the granting of the vote to British women in 1918.

Recently Claire was invited to contribute to a Radio 4 Women's Hour programme on the women's suffrage campaign and its impact and has also given talks to local history groups.

Dr Mary-Clare Martin 

Dr Martin is a social historian specialising in the history of childhood, youth movements and social welfare, c. 1740-1950. She has developed a number of curriculum areas on the multidisciplinary Childhood and Education Studies degrees such as adolescence in historical and global context, the representation of childhood in literature for adults and children, and the history of educational ideas and of equal opportunity issues.

She has previously taught in infants' schools in the London Borough of Brent, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) with adults, English as a foreign language (EFL) in Italy, and in a residential Local Education Authority (LEA) school. She has four doctoral students and teaches historical research methods on the Doctorate of Education programme. Her other responsibilities include representing The Academic Council for The School of Education. She is convenor of The University of Greenwich History Research Seminar and co-convenor of The University of Greenwich School of Education Research Seminar.

Dr Sara Pennell 

Sara studied history at Cambridge in the 1980s; and then spent two years studying for a master's degree in Architectural Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania, as a Thouron fellow. It was in America she developed her still-deep interests in foodways, material culture and historical archaeology, which came together in her Oxford doctorate in 1997. Since then she has had a varied academic and 'alternative' academic career, ranging from working on the British Galleries Project at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1997-2000); at Birkbeck University on the Robert Boyle Correspondence Project; and at the Institute of Historical Research in the E-Publications department. Between 2005-2014, she lectured at the University of Roehampton in the Humanities Department; and joined the HPSS Department at the University of Greenwich in the autumn of 2015.

She explores the social and cultural histories of seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain, with particular interests in food cultures, health, material culture, domestic interiors, spaces and architecture. Her most recent project has been a book-length study of the English kitchen, c. 1600-1850, and she has also worked extensively on early modern English recipe collections. She is interested too, in the history and historiography of consumption, c.1500-1800, and has contributed to the Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption (2012). Her current research explores the place of second-hand goods in the material and monetary economies of England between about 1600-1900; as well as non-elite experiences of owning domestic goods, from kitchen stuff to beds. This includes thinking about repair and maintenance, but also legal aspects of property rights and the protections afforded to people over what they owned. She is also very keen to undertake further heritage consultancy work around kitchens and domestic life, having worked with staff at Ham House on reinterpreting the basement service rooms in 2012.

Dr Gavin Rand

Gavin studied Politics and Modern History as an undergraduate at the University of Manchester and remained in Manchester for his postgraduate work, completing first an MA in cultural history and then a doctorate, awarded in 2004. After completing his thesis, Dr Rand taught for a year in the Department of History at Lancaster University and arrived at the University of Greenwich in 2005. His work explores the transmissions between Britain and empire in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular focus on the historical relationships and engagements which link Britain and South Asia.

A cultural historian by training, most of Gavin's research examines the role of culture in framing the administration and governance of empire, though he is also interested in the impacts of empire on British society and culture, an interest reflected in much of his teaching at the university. His general research interests include; the cultural history of the imperial military in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly the vital role played by culture in shaping the military's role across empire; integrating cultural and military history, a current project charts the role of the Indian Army in the development of new ideas of race in the period after 1857; and the role of the imperial military during the late colonial period, with a particular focus on the tumultuous events which accompanied independence and Partition in 1947. A new project in this area explores the role, and reaction, of imperial troops during the violence which attended Punjab's Partition.

Dr Michael Talbot

Michael joined the Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences in September 2015. He studied history as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, before undertaking an MA in Near & Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he also completed his PhD in Ottoman-British relations in the eighteenth century. He was a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC-funded 'Mediterranean Reconfigurations' project at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where he examined intercultural trade and commercial litigation in Ottoman Algiers.

Michael's work examines a number of topics in Ottoman history from the late seventeenth to the early twentieth century, with a general interest in Ottoman relations and interactions with the wider world. His research to date has examined Ottoman-British relations (17th-19th centuries), Ottoman maritime law and practice (18th century), and Ottoman urban history (particularly Istanbul and Palestine). As an active participant in the Ottoman History Podcast network, he is committed to bringing Ottoman history to a wider audience.

Developing projects include Ottoman urban history, particularly littoral spaces such as in northern Palestine and Istanbul, and other projects relating to late Ottoman Palestine, including refugees and Ottomanism. He has begun a number of studies in various stages of research looking at later Ottoman history using the prism of the body. Above all, Michael is deeply interested in Ottoman relations and interactions with the wider world, links between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the question of what made something (or someone) Ottoman.

Dr Vanessa Taylor

Vanessa works on the environmental and social history of modern Britain, with particular interests in water and energy consumption, and in the politics of urban rivers. Currently she is examining the changing relationship between energy systems and domestic consumers as part of the project team for 'Material Cultures of Energy: Transitions, Disruption, and Everyday Life in the Twentieth Century', led by Prof. Frank Trentmann (Birkbeck College), Arts and Humanities Research Council 'Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past' Programme. More information about this project is available at http://www.bbk.ac.uk/mce/ (Twitter @MatCultEnergy).

Other recent research has focused on the governance of the twentieth-century River Thames for the project 'Running the RiverThames: London, Stakeholders and the Environmental Governance of the Thames, 1960-2010', funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (2011-13). More information about this project is available at http://www.gre.ac.uk/riverthamesguide (Twitter @ThamesGov).

Before coming to Greenwich, Dr Taylor worked as a researcher and sessional lecturer in the Department of History, Classics & Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. A postdoctoral project there with Frank Trentmann - 'Liquid Politics: The Historic Formation of the Water Consumer (2005-07)' - explored political debates around water consumers in modern Britain within the ESRC-AHRC Cultures of Consumption Research Programme. Other recent work includes a consultancy project with the Environment Agency for their 2009 water resources strategy. Her PhD thesis, completed at Birkbeck in 2006, was on 'Brewers, Temperance and the 19th Century Drinking Fountain Movement'.

Dr Chris Ware

History Research Group is part of the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, University of Greenwich.