Harry Almond Saville Wortley was born in Cambridge and educated at the town's County School. He entered Downing College, Cambridge, and received B.A. degrees in Natural Sciences (1907) and Mental and Moral Sciences (1908), and a Diploma in Geographical Knowledge (1909). He was also a student of the Cambridge Training College for Schoolmasters and was accredited as a teacher by the Board of Education in 1908. In 1909, after a brief time working as a teacher in schools in Cambridgeshire, Wortley moved to the University College of North Wales in Bangor to work as a Lecturer in Education.
Wortley served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War, 1914-1919, and fought at Ypres and Salonika. After the war he worked as Education Officer in Winchester, then from 1919 to 1923 as head of the teacher training department at University College Exeter. In 1923 he was appointed as Professor of Education at University College, Nottingham, a post which brought with it the wardenship of Mapperley Hall, a hall of residence for male teaching students. Wortley was promoted to Principal of the College in 1935, and served until his death on 21 February 1947. One of his principal ambitions was to see the College gain full University status. The work Wortley had done ensured that this happened a year after his death.
He was a member of many educational boards, committees and governing bodies. He became a J.P. for Nottingham in 1937. During the Second World War he served as Deputy Regional Commissioner for the North Midland Region. Wortley was appointed as one of the Deputy Lieutenants for Nottinghamshire in 1945. He died on 21 February 1947.
In 1915 Wortley married Grace Pritchard (1889-1947), a graduate of the University of Wales, and daughter of William Pritchard of Liverpool. She was President of the Women's Social Club at University College, Nottinghamshire. She died twelve days after her husband, on 5 March 1947.
Professor and Mrs Wortley had one daughter, Glenys Mary Pritchard Wortley, known as Didi, who was born 1916. She was educated at St Hugh's College, Oxford, from 1936-1939, obtaining a degree in Modern History. At the outbreak of the Second World War, she joined the Regional Office of the Ministry of Information, and then was transferred to the Ministry of Labour. By 1947 she was working at the Ministry of Health. She joined the staff of the University of Nottingham as an executive assistant in the Registrar's Department, and became Deputy Registrar in 1976. She received an honorary doctorate from the University in 1981.