Polly Russell

Polly Elisabeth Russell (born 1971) is a food historian and curator at the British Library with responsibility for research on social science and food. She writes Food history column for the Financial Times weekend magazine and in 2015 She Was the co-presenter of the BBC television series Back in Time for … .

Early life

Polly Russell was born in Surrey , England, in 1971. She received her advanced education at the University of Exeter from where she earned a first class bachelor’s degree in American and Commonwealth Arts (1990-1994). She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Louisiana State University (1995-1996).


After graduating, Russell was awarded a research prize in a Louisiana, United Kingdom, where she worked as a junior at The Carved Angel and Moro Restaurant. She joined Marks & Spencer in July 1997, where she worked in product development, after which she completed her PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2003. [1]

Russell was a research fellow at the University of Sheffield from 2003 to 2007 and from 2003 has been a freelance food writer and researcher. She joined the British Library in 2007 as a Curator for Human Geography and Anthropology. Since 2008 she has been a curator in Social Sciences. At the British Library, Russell has worked on the Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement project and on the digitization of Spare Rib magazine. [2]

She has written “The History Cook” column in the FT Weekend magazine since 2012 [3] and in 2015 she presented the television series Back in Time for … with Giles Coren on BBC television. [4] [5]

Selected publications

  • The kitchen revolution: A year of time-and-money-saving recipes . Ebury Press , 2008. (With Rosie Sykes and Zoe Heron) ISBN 978-0091913731
  • Welcome to London: A world of eating . Herb Lester Associates, 2015. (map) (With Jenny Linford & Mikey Burton) ISBN 978-1910023389


  1. Jump up^ The Research Team. University of Sheffield: Food Futures. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  2. Jump up^ Polly Russell. Feminism in London 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  3. Jump up^ The History Cook. Financial Times. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  4. Jump up^ Dr. Polly Russell Showreel (short version) 2015.Take 3 Management, Vimeo , 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  5. Jump up^ Post-war powdered eggs, Angel Delight in the 1970s and Eighties’ microwave meals … how food has changed over the decades. Lucy Waterlow, Mail Online , 18 March 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2016.

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