Sara Pennell

Sara Pennell

Sara Pennell

Sara Pennell

Programme Leader, History/ Senior lecturer in Early Modern British history

Department of History, Politics and Social Sciences

Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities

I 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 I developed my still-deep interests in foodways, material culture and historical archaeology, which came together in my Oxford doctorate in 1997. Since then I have 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, I 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. I live in southwest London at the site of another Tudor palace, and enjoy the commute along London's royal river route to Greenwich.

2015: Scouloudi Publication Grant (for Making of the English Kitchen).
2014: Being Human Festival grant for 'Memory Banquet', a day-long investigation of food, memory and the brain; part of the 1st national festival of the humanities, co-sponsored by the AHRC, British Academy and School of Advanced Studies.

Editorial Board Membership:
West 86th, a journal of material culture and decorative arts.

Membership of research networks/research associations

Member, Centre for Metropolitan History (School of Advanced Study, University of London) Steering Committee (March 2015-present)

Other
Parent governor of a LA-maintained primary school in SW London.

Supervising
I would be interested in hearing from graduates wishing to pursue further research at MA and PhD level in any aspect of social, cultural and economic British history in the 'long' eighteenth century (c.1650-1850), especially foodways; domestic life; material culture; consumption and production; gender; and health and medicine.

I explore 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. My most recent project has been a book-length study of the English kitchen, c. 1600-1850, and I have also worked extensively on early modern English recipe collections. I am interested too, in the history and historiography of consumption, c. 1500-1800, and have recently contributed to the Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption (2012). My 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. I am 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.

Book/monographs
2016: The Making of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850 (Bloomsbury Academic)
2013: (co-edited with Michelle DiMeo), Reading and Writing Recipe Books, c.1500-1800 (Manchester University Press).
2003: (co-edited with Natasha Glaisyer & co-authored introductory essay), Didactic Literature in England, 1500-1800: Expertise Constructed (Ashgate).
Guest Editor of Special Issues

Journal articles
2012: ''A matter of so great importance to my health': alimentary knowledge in practice', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
2009: 'Recipes and reception: tracking New World foodstuffs in early modern British culinary texts, c. 1650-1750', Food and History, 7.1, 11-33.
1999: 'Consumption and consumerism in early modern England', Historical Journal 42:2.
1998: ''Pots and pans history': the material culture of the kitchen in early modern England', Journal of Design History 11:3.

Book chapters
2014: 'Making the bed in Georgian England', in Jon Stobart and Bruno Blondé, eds, Selling Textiles in the Long Eighteenth Century (Palgrave).
2014: S. Pennell, 'Invisible mending: ceramic repair in eighteenth-century England', in Ariane Fennetaux, Amèlie Junqua and Sophie Vasset, eds, The Afterlife of Used Things: Recycling in the Long Eighteenth Century (Routledge).
2013: S. Pennell, 'Making livings, lives and archives: tales of four eighteenth-century recipe books', in Sara Pennell and Michelle DiMeo, eds, Reading and Writing Recipe Books, c.1550-1800 (Manchester UP, 2013).
2012: 'Material culture in seventeenth-century 'Britain': the matter of consumption', in Frank Trentmann, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption (OUP).
2012: 'Professional cooking, kitchens and service work' and 'Family and domesticity', in Beat Kümin, ed., A Cultural History of Food in the Early Modern Age, 1600-1800 (Berg).
2010: 'All but the kitchen sink? Household sales and the circulation of domestic goods in early modern England', in J. Stobart and I. van Damme, eds, Modernity and the Second-Hand Trade: European Consumption Cultures and Practices, 1700-1900 (Palgrave).
2009: 'Mundane materiality, or should small things still be forgotten? Material culture, micro-histories and the problem of scale', in K. Harvey, ed., History and Material Culture (Routledge).
2007: (with Elaine Leong), 'Recipe collections and the currency of medical knowledge in the early modern 'medical marketplace', in Patrick Wallis & Mark Jenner (eds), Medicine and the Market in England and its Colonies c.1450-c.1850 (Palgrave).
2004: 'Perfecting practice? Women, manuscript recipes and knowledge in early modern England', in Victoria E. Burke & Jonathan Gibson (eds), Early Modern Women's Manuscript Writing: Selected Papers from the Trinity/Trent Colloquium (Ashgate).
2000: ''Great quantities of gooseberry pye and baked clod of beef': victualling and the experience of 'eating out' in early modern London', in Paul Griffiths & Mark Jenner (eds), Londinopolis: Essays in the Cultural and Social History of Early Modern London (Manchester University Press).
1999: 'The material culture of food in early modern England, c.1650-1750', in Sarah Tarlow & Susie West (eds), Familiar Pasts? Archaeologies of Later Historical Britain 1550-1860 (Routledge).
1994: 'Deciphering culinary allusion and illusion in Robert May's 'ExtraOrdinary Pye'', in Harlan Walker (ed), Look and Feel: Studies in Texture, Appearance and Incidental Characteristics of Food: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food 1993 (Prospect Books).

Other
2004: 'Introduction', in Women and Medicine: Remedy Books 1533-1865 (Primary Source Microfilms).
2004: Four new 500 word biographies (Mary Eales, James Gunter, Patrick Lamb & Elizabeth Moxon), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP).
2002: 'Keeping food hot, 1600-2000', in Philippa Glanville & Hilary Young (eds), Elegant Eating: Four Hundred Years of Dining in Style (V&A Publications).
2001: Three 500-word 'contributions in Michael Snodin & John Styles (eds), Design and the Decorative Arts: Britain, 1500-1900 (V&A Publications).

Browse our publications database

Keynote/invited papers
2014: 'Approaches to 'everyday' life in early modern Europe' (Merton College, Oxford)
2013: 'Suffering and Happiness in early modern England: a conference for Paul Slack' (Somerville College, Oxford)
2013: 'The best I ever ate: recipes & remedies in 18th century England', Surrey History Centre
2012: 'Reading for remedies: recipes & kitchen physic in early modern England', Fairfax House, York
2011: 'Reading between the lines: recipes and life writing' (Wellcome Collection).
2011: 'Eating words: the material text and food' (Cambridge University/CRASSH)

International/Overseas (selected)
2015: invited speaker at Groningen University/Huizinga Institute Summer School II: Things That Matter.
2013: 'Kitchen and table in Renaissance Europe' symposium (Bard Graduate Center, New York).
2010: 'Luxury and waste in the long eighteenth century' (Paris).
National (selected)
2015: 'A cake of beeswax, which I knew to be mine': materiality and identification amongst the mundane in eighteenth-century England', Anonymous Things seminar (Cambridge University/CRASSH).
2014: 'A microhistory of kitchen technology, 1600-2014', V&A/IHR Early Modern Material Cultures Seminar (London).
2014: 'Where's the kitchen? Technology, space and heritage in the historic English household' (University of Northampton)
2013: Bargain hunt? Selling and buying secondhand in London and New York, c.1700-1850 (Metropolitan History seminar, IHR, London).
2012: 'We need to talk about things: material culture in the long eighteenth century', (Cambridge University/CRASSH).
2012: 'Making the bed in Britain, 1650-1900' (Temple Newsam, Leeds).

National (selected)
2015: 'A cake of beeswax, which I knew to be mine': materiality and identification amongst the mundane in eighteenth-century England', Anonymous Things seminar (Cambridge University/CRASSH).
2014: 'A microhistory of kitchen technology, 1600-2014', V&A/IHR Early Modern Material Cultures Seminar (London).
2014: 'Where's the kitchen? Technology, space and heritage in the historic English household' (University of Northampton)
2013: Bargain hunt? Selling and buying secondhand in London and New York, c.1700-1850 (Metropolitan History seminar, IHR, London).
2012: 'We need to talk about things: material culture in the long eighteenth century', (Cambridge University/CRASSH).
2012: 'Making the bed in Britain, 1650-1900' (Temple Newsam, Leeds).

Browse our publications database