School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Sarah Collins

Research Associate



I am a Research Associate in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology working on an AHRC funded project 'Wastes and Strays: the Past, Present and Future of English Urban Commons'.


PhD History - Northumbria University

MA Historic Landscape Studies - University of York

BA (Hons) Archaeology - University of York


Urban History

Eighteenth and early-nineteenth century British-Atlantic

Historic cartography and GIS

Spatial/digital history


Research Interests

I am an urban historian of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth century British-Atlantic. I specialise in comparative spatial/digital history of Newcastle upon Tyne and Charleston, South Carolina. My research argues that existing models of eighteenth and early-nineteenth century cities are limited to discussion of 'improvement' and lack research foregrounded in urban spatial analysis. By understanding the complex and intertwined character of multiple forms of urban space within a Geographic Information System I counter top-down models of urban management structures and hierarchy as it relates to the built form of cities.

I also have an interest in landscape history/archaeology more broadly. Previous research has included examination of elite landscapes such as Castle Howard (N Yorks.) and Harewood House (W Yorks.).

Research Projects

My current research project is:

'Wastes and Strays' is an AHRC funded project that examines the past, present and future of English urban commons. I am researching the past dimension of the project through an analysis of four case studies: Town Moor, Newcastle; Mousehold Heath, Norwich; Valley Gardens, Brighton; and Clifton Down, Bristol.


My previous research projects include:

I was Project Manager of the Tyne & Wear Historic Landscape Characterisation project funded by Historic England as part of the National HLC initiative.

Parks and Gardens UK Project (University of York, Association of Gardens Trusts and HLF).

Norfolk Historic Landscape Characterisation Project (Norfolk County Council).