Ashton, Thomas Sutcliffe (1889–1968)
T.S. Ashton was born in Lancashire in 1889, graduated from Manchester University in 1909 and returned there in 1921 (after some years at the Universities of Sheffield and Birmingham) to teach political economy and economic history in the Faculty of Commerce. By the time he took up Eileen Power’s chair of economic history at the London School of Economics in 1944, he had made a substantive and distinctive contribution to the history of the industrial revolution in three research monographs: Iron and Steel and in the Industrial Revolution (1924), The Coal Industry of the Eighteenth Century (1929, written with Joseph Sykes), and An Eighteenth Century Industrialist: Peter Stubs of Warrington (1939). Over the next decade this unassuming, humane, passionately non-dogmatic scholar had become the leader of a new generation of economic historians, a generation whose members had been schooled in the theories and analytical techniques of economics rather than in the thinking habits of a history faculty.