|Born||Irene Joan Watkins
19 June 1922
Primrose Hill, London Borough of Camden, London, England
|Died||3 October 2013
Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Kent, England
|Residence||Hadlow, Kent, England|
|Other names||Irene Joan Thirsk|
|Alma mater||Oxford University|
|Occupation||Author, historian, academic, cryptologist|
She was one of the leading economic and social historians of the 20th century, having greatly influenced the methodology and direction of research. She had a major influence on this field, and her most prominent contribution has been to use as a source for the first time, local manuscripts. She worked first as assistant lecturer in sociology at the London School of Economics, then senior research fellow at the University of Leicester (1951–65). She was reader in economic history at Oxford University between 1975 and 1983. She was the editor of The Agrarian History of England and Wales (for volumes 4–6) from 1964 to 1972 and in 1974 was appointed general editor of the series.
During the Second World War she worked as an intelligence analyst at Bletchley Park, providing information that assisted Hut 6 in the breaking of the Enigma ciphers and added substantially to the substance of the subsequent intelligence reports. She worked in the Sixta traffic analysis group alongside her future husband Jimmy.
- The agrarian history of England and Wales, Volume IV: 1500-1640
- Hadlow Castle, a Short History. Hadlow: Hadlow Historical Society. 1985. ISBN 0-9510425-0-5.
- Hadlow: Life, Land and People in a Wealden Parish 1460 ~ 1600. Maidstone: Kent Archaeological Society. 2007. ISBN 978 0 906746 70 7.
- "Joan THIRSK Obituary: View Joan THIRSK's Obituary by The Times". Announcements.thetimes.co.uk. 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
- Christopher Dyer. "Joan Thirsk obituary | Books". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17.
- Hallas pp. 1184-5
- Reisz, Matthew (2013-10-17). "Joan Thirsk, 1922-2013". THE.
- James Thirsk, Bletchley Park: An Inmate's Story, M & M Baldwin, Cleobury Mortimer, 2012
- Joan Thirsk, biography by Institute of Historical Research
- Christine S. Hallas, at Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing (edited by Kelly Boyd), pp. 1184–85. London: Fizroy Dearborn, 1999.
- Blackwell Dictionary of Historians, edited by John Cannon et al. New York: Blackwell Reference, 1988.