Dr Polly Russell works as a Lead Curator of Contemporary Politics and Public Life at the British Library and as a freelance food consultant and writer. Polly is co-presenter on the BBC2’s popular living history series, ‘Back in Time for Dinner’ made by Wall to Wall TV and its follow up series ‘Back in Time for the Weekend’, two Christmas specials, ‘Further Back in Time’ and currently filming new series ‘Back in Time for Tea’ to be transmitted in early 2018. She is also a regular presenter on the BBC1 daytime series ‘Royal Recipes’ and was the Food Historian on the BBC2’s Best of British Takeaways.
At the British Library, Polly is responsible for developing collections and services in the fields of Politics and Public Life, Food Studies and Women’s History.
Polly’s research interests include the history of British food and the ways that food is connected to social, cultural and political aspects of everyday life. This direction has been informed by years of active interest in both cooking and eating, and of keeping a watchful eye on trends in food production and cookery both in the UK and abroad – before securing her first academic post, Polly spent time researching food in Louisiana, worked at Moro and the Carved Angel, and was a food-product developer for Marks & Spencer.
Outside of her curatorial role, Polly now divides her time between consultancy, writing and broadcast. She works with Heston Blumenthal as his historical researcher, has a regular column in the FT Weekend magazine, (‘The History Cook’) and has written for the Guardian, the Times and Waitrose Magazine.