Joan Kenworthy was educated at St.Hilda’s College, Oxford. In 1960 she was appointed an Assistant Lecturer in Geography at the University of Liverpool, being promoted to a Lectureship in 1963 and to a Senior Lectureship in 1973. In 1966 she was additionally appointed Warden of Salisbury Hall, also assuming responsibility for Morton House in 1974. In 1977 she left the University of Liverpool to take up the position of Principal of St. Mary’s College, University of Durham, also teaching in the Department of Geography at the University.
Joan Kenworthy has made many contributions to the history of meteorology, for which she was awarded the Jehuda Neumann Memorial Prize of the Royal Meteorological Society in 2015.