Lesley Smith (M.Univ, M.Phil, FSA Scot, M.S.M.W) is an English scholar, historian, heritage publicist and actress. She is the curator of Tutbury Castle and is perhaps best known for her performances on stage as historical figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I. She has also been featured in a number of television programmes.
Smith is the curator and lessee of Tutbury Castle, a position granted by the Duchy of Lancaster, for which she works as Public Relations Officer. Between 2000 (when she took up the position) and 2006, Smith presided over a 12-fold increase in visitor numbers. To reward her achievements, in 2006 the University of Derby awarded Smith an honorary master’s degree. At the conferment of the degree, she was described as “a remarkable social historian of the 16th century who is passionate about and committed to raising public understanding of the subject.”
Smith is known for her dramatic interpretations of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, for which she dons authentic replica costumes. She performs regular ghost hunt evenings, in character, at Tutbury. She also takes these re-enactments, as well as those of Nell Gwyn and Anne Boleyn, to theatrical and charitable venues.
Smith is a member of the Association of Medical Writers and is currently completing her PhD in “obstetrics and gynaecology in early modern Britain”, working in conjunction with University of Birmingham and the British Museum. She has lectured there on her discoveries relating to 16th century contraception, such as the use of leather condoms, and citrus fruit as cervical caps. Smith is also a regular contributor to the Journal of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and has delivered lectures to groups such as the Royal Institute of Chemists, Royal Society of Medicine and the Scottish Parliament at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.