Eric Clare Midwinter OBE, (born February 1932) is an English author, broadcaster and academic. He is a consumer advocate, a social policy analyst, a historian of the sport of cricket and an expert on British comedy.

Life and careerEdit

Eric Midwinter, born in 1932 in Sale, Cheshire, where he attended the local grammar school, was an Exhibitioner of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, 1952-55. He obtained a BA with First Class Honours, in Part II of the History Tripos, was elected a Life Scholar of the College and won the Figgis Memorial Prize for History. His other academic awards include MA (Cantab) 1959, MA in Education (Liverpool) 1968 and DPhil (York) 1966.

He was Director of the Centre for Policy on Ageing, 1980-91, when the Centre was developing its new role as a policy institute or "think tank", and was also Chairman of CPA, 2002-2008. Prior to his post at CPA, he was Director of the Liverpool Educational Priority Area Project, Principal of the progressive Liverpool Teachers Centre and Head of the Public Affairs Unit at the National Consumer Council. He was Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, 1992-2001, and was Chairman of the Community Development Centre, Coventry, 1993-2000. He was Chairman of the government sponsored London Regional Passengers Committee, 1977-96, and served on the Central Transport Users Committee during the same period.

A social historian, educationalist and social policy analyst, he has enjoyed a long career in the public and voluntary service. He is a Co-founder of the University of the Third Age and he was consultant to the Millennium Debate of the Age project and to the International Longevity Centre – UK. He served as Chairman of the Health and Social Welfare Board of the Open University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the Open University. He was a member of the Carnegie Inquiry into the Third Age Committee; a member of the Advisory Committee on Telecommunications for Disabled and Elderly People; and for five years the member with special interest in older people on the Prince of Wales Advisory Group on Disability. Eric Midwinter also completed a European Commission study, under the auspices of Age Concern England, into the feasibility of a Senior Euro-pass.

Well-known as writer and broadcaster, he has also won critical acclaim as a double award-winning cricket author (he was for seven years President of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians and for six years Chairman of Judges for the The Cricket Society/MCC Book of the Year) He is also well-known as a perceptive authority on the history of British comedy about which he has published widely. He is the author of over fifty publications on a broad range of subjects.


  • Social Administration in Lancashire, 1830–60: Poor Law, Public Health and Police (1966)
  • Law and Order in Early Victorian Lancashire (1968)
  • Victorian Social Reform (1968)
  • Nineteenth Century Education (1970)
  • Old Liverpool (1971)
  • Priority Education: An Account of the Liverpool Project (1972)
  • Projections and Social Environment and the Urban School (1972)
  • Patterns of Community Education (1973)
  • Preschool Priorities (1974)
  • Education and the Community (1975)
  • Education for Sale (1977)
  • Make 'em Laugh: Famous Comedians and Their Worlds (1979)
  • Schools in Society: The Evolution of English Education (1980)
  • W.G. Grace: His Life and Times (1981)
  • Age is Opportunity: Education and Older People (1982)
  • Ten Million People (1982)
  • Mutual Aid Universities (1984)
  • The Wage of Retirement: The Case for a New Pensions Policy (1985)
  • Fair Game: Myth and Reality in Sport (1986)
  • Caring for Cash: The Issue of Private Domiciliary Care (1986)
  • The Lost Seasons: Cricket in Wartime, 1939–45 (1987)
  • Polls Apart?: Older Voters and the 1987 General Election (1987, with Susan Tester)
  • New Design for Old: Function, Style and Older People (1988)
  • Red Roses Crest the Caps: Story of Lancashire County Cricket Club (1989)
  • Creating Chances: Arts by Older People (1990)
  • The Old Order: Crime and Older People (1990)
  • Brylcreem Summer: The 1947 Cricket Season (1991)
  • The Illustrated History of County Cricket (1992)
  • Citizenship: From Ageism to Participation (1992)
  • Get Staffed!: A Report to the London Regional Passengers Committee on the Destaffing of British Rail's London Area Stations (1992)
  • A Voyage of Rediscovery: A Guide to Writing Your Life Story (1993)
  • The Rhubarb People: A Childhood Memoir of Manchester in the '30s (1993)
  • The Development of Social Welfare in Britain (1994)
  • Darling Old Oval : A History of 150 Years of Surrey Cricket at the Oval, 1845–1995 (1995)
  • Pensioned Off: Retirement and Income Examined (1997)
  • Yesterdays: The Way We Were, 1919–1939 (1998)
  • Yesterdays: Our Finest Hours, 1939–1953 (2001)
  • Quill on Willow: Cricket in Literature (2001)
  • Best Remembered: A Hundred Stars of Yesteryear (2002)
  • As One Stage Door Closes: The Story of John Wade – Jobbing Conjuror (2002)
  • Novel Approaches: A Guide to the Popular Classic Novel (2003)
  • 500 Beacons: The U3A Story (2004)
  • Red Shirts and Roses: The Tale of the Two Old Traffords (2005)
  • The People's Jesters: British Comedians in the 20th Century (2006)
  • Salisbury (2006)
  • Parish to Planet: How Football Came to Rule the World (2007)
  • George Duckworth: Warrington's Ambassador at Large (2007)
  • I Say, I Say, I Say: The Double Act Story (2009)
  • The Cricketer's Progress: Meadowland to Mumbai (2010)
  • Best Remembered (two) Cinema and Radio (2013)
  • Cricket Lore: The Guide (2014)
  • Class Peace: An Analysis of Social Status and English Cricket 1846–1962 (2017)
  • Labour's Prize band: Attlee's Ministry Analysed (2018)
  • His Captain's Hand on His Shoulder Smote: The Incidence and Influence of Cricket in Schoolboy Stories (2019)

The 2015 book Variety is the Spice of Life: The Worlds of Eric Midwinter is an appreciation of his life and work.