Hall and Roberts's William Aitken: The Writings of a Nineteenth Century Working Man is dedicated to an unfairly forgotten man of Greater Manchester. Aitken (1812– or 1814–69) was born in Dunbar, Scotland, although his family moved to Ashton-under-Lyne when he was a child. He began work in a cotton mill at the age of twelve and was largely self-taught. He opened a school in Ashton in 1833, where he and his wife Mary taught mainly working-class children. He had a strong sense of justice and spent much effort on the Chartist cause and fighting for the ten-hour working day.