Sandra Dunster

Dr Sandra Dunster

Dr Sandra Dunster
PhD, History, University of Nottingham. Thesis: ‘Women of the Nottinghamshire Elite 1700-1820 (2003), MA in Local and Regional History, University of Nottingham (1991), BA (Hons) European Studies, University of East Anglia (1976)

Principal Lecturer

Department of History, Politics and Social Sciences

Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Humanities

Sandra is a social and cultural historian with particular interests in local history and in gender in the early modern period and committed to community engagement with local history. After graduating from the University of East Anglia, Sandra pursued a career in the Civil Service until 1989. She then returned to further education and having completed an MA in Local and Regional History at the University of Nottingham in 1991, taught there on the Advanced Certificate in Local and Regional History in the School of Continuing Education. She subsequently also taught part-time in the History department whilst working on her PhD.

From 2003 Sandra worked part-time for the University of Kent, teaching on two of their programmes: the Certificate in Combined Studies and Certificate in the Theory and Practice of Local History. She also taught courses in local history for Kent Adult Education Service and worked with community groups in to engage them in researching and sharing their family and community histories.

Following the completion of her Research Fellow contact, Sandra was appointed as a Senior Lecturer in History and now teaches on the History undergraduate programme, offering courses relating to the early modern period at levels 5 and 6 and has been Programme Leader since 2011.

Principal Lecturer in History

Appointed by the University of Greenwich to the Victoria County History (VCH) Senior Research Fellow post in October 2007, Sandra researched and wrote a history of the Medway Towns for the VCH, England's Past for Everyone paperback series, 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:

Sandra 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.

Research Enterprise

Currently providing historical consultancy support to an AHRC bid led by Andrew Hill from Media and jointly developed with the University of Kent, to recreate the historic soundscapes of the Medway Towns.

Impact activities
Victoria Count History England's Past for Everyone project in the Medway Towns 2008-13
Working with a group of 30 volunteers from the local area to research and write a comprehensive history of the Medway towns as part of a national HLF funded project.

Over the past five years, in addition to the papers listed above, and my community work within the Medway Towns project, I have delivered talks to a range of public audiences on the history of the Medway Towns.

Prior to joining the University of Greenwich I was employed by Kent Adult Education to share family and local history skills with community groups in socially deprived areas in Kent.


S Dunster, The Medway Towns: Rivers, Docks and Urban Life (2013)

Journal articles

S Dunster, and E Edwards, '150 years of local history: local Kentish practice and national trends', Archaeologia Cantiana, 127 (2007).

S Dunster, 'Useless and insignificant creatures? Spinsters in the Nottinghamshire upper classes 1720–1820', Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottingham, 102 (Nottingham, 1998).

S Dunster, 'An independent life? Nottingham widows', 1594–1650. Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottingham, 95 (Nottingham 1991).

Book chapters

S Dunster, 'Landowners and Industrialists', in A Hann, The Medway Valley: A Kent Landscape Transformed (2009).

S Dunster, A Henstock, and S Wallwork, 'Early Modern Nottingham – Decline and Regeneration: Social and Economic Life' in J V Beckett, (ed.) A Centenary History of Nottingham (Manchester, 1997).

Browse our publications database


Invited papers
March 2015 'Feeding the Dockyard: the fight for Chatham Market, 1660-1712'
'New Directions in Kent History Since Joan Thirsk'. Conference at Canterbury Christ Church University

October 2013 'A Heavy and Increasing burden'. The impact of the presence of the Royal Naval Hospital on the parish of Greenwich in the 18th & early 19th century'
Greenwich History Conference, University of Greenwich.

June 2013, '"This mushroom town". Change in the parish of Gillingham, 1850-1900'.
'New Developments in Kentish Urban Studies'. Conference at Canterbury Christ Church University

Browse our publications database