Document ReferenceJH
TitlePapers of Jack Hilton (1900-1983), socialist and novelist, 1912-1982
Extent9 boxes
AbstractThe collection contains personal papers and literary papers of Jack Hilton (1900-1983).
Access ConditionsAccessible to readers by advance appointment.
Admin HistoryJack Hilton was born in Oldham, Lancashire on 21 January 1900, the sixth child of George Hilton (1866-1952), a railway goods checker. Soon after, the Hilton family moved to Rochdale where Jack grew up. He left school in 1914, entered the army in 1916, and returned to Rochdale in c.1918 where he entered the plastering trade, joining the Plasterer's Union in 1924. He married Mary Jane Parrot (d.1955) in 1922. Jack Hilton received lessons in literature during a spell of unemployment and in 1935, his first creative work, the autobiographical Caliban Shrieks, was published by Cobden-Sanderson. Hilton studied at Ruskin College, Oxford between 1935 and 1937 following his successful application for a Cassel scholarship. In 1939, he returned to Oxford; to employment as a porter-carpenter at Somerville College and a fireman.

He was invalided out of the fire brigade following the effects of a blast and later undertook building work in Hackney, London. Hilton was active in the trade union movement, demonstrated against unemployment and was a member of the Socialist Labour Party.

As a writer, Hilton drew on his working experience, understanding of working class conditions, and socialist beliefs, producing narratives with a strongly polemical tone. His published works included: Champion (1938), English Ribbon (1950), English Ways (1940), and Laugh at Polonius (1942). Short stories or sections of his full length works appeared in literary periodicals including Adelphi and Left Review.
Custodial HistoryThe collection was acquired by The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections in May 1992.
DescriptionThe collection comprises:

Personal papers: correspondence relating to the publication of Jack Hilton's works, correspondence from family members, photographs, certificates, miscellaneous biographical material;

Literary papers: drafts of autobiographical works including Caliban Boswelling, manuscripts of published novels including Champion and English Ribbon, manuscripts of short works, copies of the Adelphi and Co-operative Productive Review, manuscripts of unidentified literary works, and published works, research notes, manuscripts of articles (factual).

Literary papers of Mary Hilton: manuscript of travel work 'English Walk' and manuscript of a short work.
MgtGroupLiterary and cultural records
Personal papers
MgtSubGroup20thC literary manuscripts
Private papers
ArrangementThe collection has been divided by document type into two main groups; personal papers and literary papers. Within these groups, items have been arranged in chronological order within series.
TermEnglish literature - 20th century
Short stories, English - 20th century
Socialism and literature - England
FindingAidsCopyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham. In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus: Typescript catalogue, 55 pp. Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
Publication NoteChampion (Jonathan Cape: London, 1938)
English Ribbon (Jonathan Cape: London, 1950)
English Ways (Jonathan Cape: London, 1940)
Laugh at Polonius (Jonathan Cape: London, 1942)
Caliban Shrieks (Codbden-Sanderson: London, 1935)

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA355Hilton; Jack (1900-1983); socialist and novelist1900-1983
NA355Hilton; Jack (1900-1983); socialist and novelist1900-1983
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