Brock was born in Brighton. He studied chemistry at University College London and the history and philosophy of science at the University of Leicester to become a lecturer on the subject. His earned a Ph.D. for his biography of the chemist William Prout which was expanded into the book, From Protyle to Proton: William Prout and the Nature of Matter, 1785–1985 (1985). Brock remained at Leicester until he retired in 1998 as Emeritus Professor of History of Science.
In 1995, Brock received the Dexter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.
- Justus von Liebig und August Wilhelm Hofmann in ihren Briefen (1841-1873) (1984)
- From Protyle to Proton: William Prout and the Nature of Matter, 1785-1985 (1985)
- The Fontana History of Chemistry (1992)
- The Norton History of Chemistry (1993)
- Science for All: Studies in the History of Victorian Science and Education (1996)
- William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science (2008)
- The Case of the Poisonous Socks: Tales from Chemistry (2011)
- Biography of William Hodson Brock. (2006). Division of History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.
- Rocke, A. J. (1986). Justus von Liebig und August Wilhelm Hofmann in ihren Briefen (1841-1873) by William Hodson Brock. Isis, Vol. 77, No. 2. pp. 380-381.
- "Dexter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry". Division of the History of Chemistry. American Chemical Society. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- Brooke, John Hedley (June 1994). "Review of The Fontana History of Chemistry by William H. Brock". Isis. 85 (2): 301–302. doi:10.1086/356820.
- Kauffman, George B. (1 August 1994). "Review of The Norton History of Chemistry by William H. Brock". J. Chem. Educ. 71 (8): A214. doi:10.1021/ed071pA214.