Jack 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 Jackgrew up. He left school in 1914, entered the army in 1916, and returned to Rochdale in c.1918 wherehe 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 in1935, his first creative work, the autobiographical Caliban Shrieks, was published byCobden-Sanderson. Hilton studied at Ruskin College, Oxford between 1935 and 1937 following hissuccessful application for a Cassel scholarship. In 1939, he returned to Oxford; to employment as aporter-carpenter at Somerville College and a fireman.
He was invalided out of the fire brigade following the effects of a blast and later undertookbuilding work in Hackney, London. Hilton was active in the trade union movement, demonstratedagainst 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 worksincluded: Champion (1938), English Ribbon (1950), English Ways (1940), andLaugh at Polonius (1942). Short stories or sections of his full length works appeared inliterary periodicals including Adelphi and Left Review.