Karen is a seaside-loving historian and research consultant who divides her time between London and her home town of Birmingham, visiting the coast whenever she can. She is Director of Archangel Heritage Ltd, a historical research consultancy which she established in 2010.
A former archivist, Karen has worked in the heritage sector since 1997, initially in the public sector at archaeological, national, and university archives, in roles combining archaeology, archives and architectural history. In 2006 she moved into private consultancy to specialise in historical research.
Karen researches the history of buildings, people and places for a variety of clients and purposes. Research commissions over the years have been diverse, including early 20th century vegetarian restaurants, bell foundries, Victorian toilets, statues, folklore history, pilgrim routes, suffragettes, war memorials, air-raid shelters, naval dockyards, factories and remount depots. She has undertaken historical research for the English Heritage Blue Plaque Scheme (Raymond Chandler, Maria Dickin, Sir Fabian Ware, Frederick Ashton), for exhibitions, and for authors and television programmes.
Her specialist research interests include seaside and industrial heritage and communities, house histories, historic hotels, and working class history and heritage. She is a collaborative working advocate, and welcomes opportunities to develop and promote projects using historical research, especially utilising archives and libraries.
She is currently researching the history of grand seaside hotels and seaside accommodation, and writes a fortnightly history column for the East London Guardian.
Karen holds post-graduate qualifications in Architectural History from the University of Oxford (PGC Distinction) and Archaeology from the University of Nottingham (MA Distinction). Her formal studying began in the coastal town of Aberystwyth, where she lived, worked and studied for a time, graduating with a BA (Hons) in History and Classical Studies.
Professional memberships include the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (Affiliate), and Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (Associate). Society memberships include the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, the Victorian Society, Twentieth Century Society, British Association for Local History, the Art Deco Society, and National Piers Society.