Sarah Leith

MA (Hons) Modern History, First Class (University of St Andrews), MLitt Scottish Historical Studies with distinction (University of St Andrews)  


Contact Details

Thesis title: Preserving Scotland’s Past: history, heritage and national identity in unionist Scotland, c.1945 to 1970.
Supervisor: Dr Malcolm Petrie




Inspired by the work of Ronald Cant, the University of St Andrews’ first lecturer in Scottish history and co-founder of the St Andrews Preservation Trust, my research examines the realms of academic and popular Scottish history in mid-twentieth-century Scotland. In so doing it seeks to uncover expressions of Scottish national identity revealed during a time which is generally characterised as an era of unionism, or even British nationalism. Historians have tended to examine this period through a political lens and have focussed upon the evidence provided by election results. This thesis will provide a new angle by exploring mid-century Scottish identity though the cultural lenses of university Scottish history teaching and the heritage sector. This integration of academic and public history will enhance our understanding of the varieties of national identity in twentieth-century Scotland, and the different means through which Scottish national identity could be preserved, articulated and publicised.

My research is funded by an AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Scotland studentship.



  • ‘The subject should receive formal recognition’: Ronald Gordon Cant and the establishment of Scottish history teaching at the University of St Andrews, Institute of Scottish Historical Research, University of St Andrews, April 2017.


  • AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Scotland Studentship (2017-2020)
  • University of St Andrews Dean’s List (2016)
  • University of St Andrews Dean’s List (2014)