J. F. C Harrison, who is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Sussex, was born in Leicester in 1921 and educated at City Boys’ School, Leicester, and Selwyn College, Cambridge. He served as an infantry captain in the Second World War before becoming a lecturer, and then Deputy Director, in the Department of Adult Education at Leeds University. From 1961 until 1970 he was Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin. He has travelled widely and has held visiting appointments at Harvard University, the Australian National University and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin.
Among his books are Learning and Living, 1790-1960 (1961), Society and Politics in England, 1780-1960 (1965), Robert Owen and the Owenites in Britain and America (1969), The Second Coming: Popular Millenarianism, 1780-1850 (1979) and The Common People: a History from the Norman Conquest to the Present (Fontana, 1984). He is also the author of Late Victorian Britain 1875-1901 (Fontana Press, 1990), which completes the trilogy including the present volume and G. Best’s Mid-Victorian Britain.