Charles Wilson (historian)

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Charles Henry Wilson CBE[1] (16 April 1914 – 1 August 1991)[1] was an English business historian.[2] His best known work is his multi-volume history of Unilever, which is credited with establishing corporate history as a subject worthy of academic attention in the UK.[2]


Wilson was born in Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, and educated at De Aston Grammar School.[1] His forebears included small farmers and small businessmen, which contributed to his scepticism of the Marxism that was fashionable during the 1930s.[3]

Wilson went on to Jesus College, Cambridge.[1]

The first two volumes of his three volume history of Unilever were published in 1954.[4]

Wilson was professor of modern history at Cambridge University from 1965 to 1979.[1]


  • Charles Wilson: The history of Unilever. A study in economic growth and social change. 2 vols. London, Cassell & Company, 1954. Ed. Cassell 1970: ISBN 0-304-93605-7


  1. ^ a b c d e "Prof Charles Wilson". The Times. 8 August 1991.
  2. ^ a b Peter Mathias, ‘Wilson, Charles Henry (1914–1991)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 10 Aug 2014
  3. ^ Harris, Ian (3 August 1991). "Obituary: Professor Charles Wilson". The Independent.
  4. ^