The Bartlett School of Architecture

Dr Samuel Grinsell

Dr Samuel Grinsell

Research Fellow

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2022

Research summary

My work examines the relationship between water and the built environment, drawing on methods and concepts from environmental history, geography, architectural history and environmental humanities.

I have pursued this through two research projects: my PhD focused on the place of the Nile in British colonial urbanism from the 1880s-1920s; my postdoctoral work is on the North Sea coasts of England, Flanders and the Netherlands from around 1800-1950. I draw on diverse sources including maps, diaries, journalism, official correspondence, reports, plans, paintings and photographs to construct histories of how space and place have been made.

I am interested in all approaches to architectural history that position humans within the material and ecological webs of the world around us, rather than as somehow existing outside nature. While my research is deeply empirical, I hope to also contribute to methodological and conceptual discussions within the discipline and beyond.

Teaching summary

My role at The Bartlett is primarily concerned with research, but I will also provide occasional lectures in the MA Architectural History and other relevant programmes.


I joined The Bartlett as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2022, with three years of funding for the project 'Making North Sea coasts in England, Flanders and the Netherlands, c.1800-1950'. Before this I was a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Antwerp, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, from 2020-22. I completed a PhD in Architectural History, funded by The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, at The University of Edinburgh from 2016-20, and an MA in Urban History at the University of Leicester from 2013-15.

Alongside my academic activities, I am an active member of the collective Historians for Future, which campaigns on global climate crises and promotes public understanding of environmental history.