I have degrees from Oxford (MA), York (MA) and Liverpool (PhD), and I’m proud to be an honorary fellow at the University of York. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS).

Although I am entirely freelance, and have limited everyday involvement in academia, I continue to research, advise and occasionally teach within the university environment. My core research interests are: food and dining in Britain (c.1600-1960); dining style and stylistic change; gender history, particularly within the home; domestic service; site-based interpretation and best practice where related to food and dining; and the history of country houses and gardens, particularly kitchen gardens.

My PhD, completed in 2009, looked at the interplay of class and gender in influencing dining change in the 18th and 19th centuries. It also considered how such change then impacted on the organisation and mentality of life below and above stairs. During my PhD and immediately afterwards, I published several papers on aspects of my work, some of which are available on, along with the full text of my PhD thesis. I also post training papers and seminars, if there’s enough text to make them interesting.

I have largely stopped contributing to academic journals at the moment, and am concentrating instead on writing for the more general public. My more recent articles can be found in publications such as Delicious., The Telegraph, The Guardian online, BBC Good Food and many others. There are fewer footnotes and more pictures.

Feel free to use the information, but do please be polite, and reference me properly.

Published or forthcoming papers

  • Victoria and Albert at Osborne (2019) ‘Extemporised measures: cooking and eating at Osborne’, plus consulting on the conference menus and giving a rabble-rousing speech at the gala dinner.
  • SPMA Geoff Egan Memorial Lecture (2018) ‘Playing with your food: public engagement through the material culture of food and dining’. Did what it said on the tin, covering why food is great and how archaeological finds can be used for public understanding.
  • Gray, A. (2014) 'Representations of food and culture', case study for the Punch Online
  • Gray, A. (2013) ‘‘The proud air of an unwilling slave’: Tea, women and domesticity, c. 1700-1900,'in S. Spencer-Wood (Ed) Historical and Archaeological Perspectives on Gender Transformations: From Private to Public. New York, Springer, 23-44
  • Gray, A (2013) ‘The historical archaeology of households and domesticity’ in C. Smith et al (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (New York, Springer)
  • Gray A (2015) ‘Broccoli, bunnies and beef: the raw and the cooked in the Victorian country house’, in J. Stobart & A. Hann (eds) Consuming the Country House (English Heritage)
  • Gray, A. (2013) ‘‘A Practical Art’: An archaeological perspective on the use of cookbooks.’
    in M. diMeo and S. Pennell (eds) Reading and Writing Recipe Books, 1600-1800.
    Manchester, MUP, 47-67
  • Gray, A. (2015) ‘‘Perfection and economy’: continuity and change in elite
    dining practice’
    c.1780-1880.’ in A. Brooks (ed) Nineteenth-Century Material Culture Studies
    from Britain. University of Nebraska Press and the SPMA


  • Gray, A. (2010) ‘The greatest ordeal: using biography to explore the Victorian dinner.’
    Post-Medieval Archaeology, 44(2), 255-72.
  • Gray, A., (2010) ‘Chocolatada! Sensing the past: recreating a seventeenth century
    chocolate recipe’
    , in Table Settings: The Material Culture and Social Context of Dining,
    AD 1700-1900, ed. J. Symonds Oxford: Oxbow, 32-8

Recent academic lectures

  • The Attingham Trust Summer School (2017), 'Smokejacks and Spaddles: Food and Country House Services', plus tour round and discussion of, Petworth service wing. Whistlestop lecture on technology and interpretive potential of food in heritage.
  • Cambridge University History Faculty (2015) ‘Early Modern History Mphil Research Challenge: Early Modern Food’, a full day of food-based challenge, culminating in a student-cooked meal and discussion. Great fun. Repeated 2016 with even more recipes.
  • St Mary’s, Twickenham: mini conference on food and war (2015) ‘World War One as a driver for change’, plus wartime food demo. Students rated the conference as 92/100 and described me as ‘awesome’, which was nice.
  • York Heritage Research Seminar lecture (2014) ‘Pots, Pans, and a PhD: translating theories about historic foodways into public history’ Available via Archaeology York's YouTube channel >

Academic Links

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