Daunton is the son of Ronald James Daunton and Dorothy née Bellett. He was educated at Barry Grammar School before going to the University of Nottingham where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He studied further at the University of Kent PhD 1974 and received the degree of LittD from the University of Cambridge in 2005.
In 1984, he married Claire Gobbi.
- Daunton, Martin J., ed. Coal Metropolis: Cardiff 1870–1914 (Leicester University, 1977).
- Daunton, Martin J. House and home in the Victorian city: working class housing, 1850–1914 (London: Edward Arnold, 1983).
- Daunton, Martin J. "'Gentlemanly Capitalism' and British Industry 1820–1914." Past & Present 122 (1989): 119–158. in JSTOR
- Daunton, Martin J. Progress and Poverty: an economic and social history of Britain 1700–1850. (Oxford UP, 1995).
- Daunton, Martin, and Matthew Hilton, eds. The Politics of Consumption: Material culture and citizenship in Europe and America. (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2001).
- Narlikar, Amrita, Martin Daunton, and Robert M. Stern, eds. The Oxford Handbook on the World Trade Organization (Oxford University Press, 2012).
- Moses, Julia, and Martin J. Daunton. "Editorial – Border Crossings: global dynamics of social policies and problems." Journal of Global History 9#2 (2014): 177–188.
- Daunton, Martin J. Royal Mail: the Post Office since 1840. (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015).
- Daunton, Martin J. Housing the Workers, 1850–1914: a comparative perspective (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015).
- "Interview with Professor Martin Daunton - Making History". History.ac.uk. 19 May 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Daunton, Martin. "Master Martin Daunton". Trinity Hall. Retrieved 30 September 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Professor Martin Daunton at Trinity Hall, Cambridge
- Donald Adamson at Debrett's People of Today
- Interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 2 August 2013 (video)
| Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge
| President of the Royal Historical Society