Margaret Storm Jameson was born in Whitby in 1891. Her father and grandfather were successful shipbuilders. She studied at University of Leeds and was elected Secretary of the Women's Representative Council.
Jameson became a socialist at university and was a strong advocate of women having the vote. She also raised funds for the families of union members who took part in the strike that took place in the tailoring industry in Leeds in 1911.
After obtaining a first-class degree in English at the University of Leeds she moved to London in September 1912 and found employment at the Working Women's College in Earls Court. She wrote later that: "I believe that there exists in the intellect of the working class a vigour and freshness that may well bring forth a new Renaissance. For generations crushed under the industrial slavery, I believe that it will move when it does move, with a mighty bound."
Jameson became active in politics and joined the National Union of Women Suffrage Societies(NUWSS). In 1913 she took part in the Women's Pilgrimage to show the House of Commons how many women wanted the vote. Members of the NUWSS set off in the middle of June, and during the next six weeks held a series of meetings all over Britain. An estimated 50,000 women reached Hyde Park in London on 26th July. According to her autobiography, she bit a policeman, during the demonstration.
On 15th January 1913, Jameson married Charles Douglas Clarke, a fellow student at University of Leeds. They lived in a small flat in Shepherd's Bush. According to the author of Margaret Storm Jameson: A Life (2009): "They were very poor, she lunched regularly on plums, and they squabbled bitterly. She tried to commit suicide with an overdose of phenacetin, and he was deeply unsympathetic. She fell ill at the end of the year and went home to her parents in Whitby, while he moved in with his Quaker parents in North London."
Jameson had two articles published in New Age. The first was an attack on the work of George Bernard Shaw. She criticised his plays for their "poor characterisation" and for the "half-baked ideas" that had come from his membership of the Fabian Society. The second article dealt with the unfairness of marriage laws. Jameson also wrote an article for The Egoist that explored the political ideas of Emma Goldman.
Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, Storm Jameson's father joined the Royal Navy and became captain of the Saxon Prince. In the spring of 1916 the ship was sunk off the Irish coast and Jameson was taken prisoner and sent to a military camp at Hamburg.
Her brother, Harold Jameson, although only seventeen, joined the Royal Flying Corps. By 1916 he was a 2nd Lieutenant and had been given the DCM: "for conspicuous coolness and gallantry on several occasions in connection with wireless work under fire." Later that year he won the Military Cross for attacking a German kite balloon under heavy fire. He was killed in January 1917 after being shot down while over No Man's Land.
As Martin Ceadel, the author of Pacifism in Britain 1914-1945 (1980) has pointed out: "Her sense of outrage at the Great War in which so many of her contemporaries, including her brother, had been killed suddenly erupted into overt pacifism... Brooding upon the depressing consequences of the war, she felt an acute sense of guilt at having supported it, and turned her book into an outspoken anti-war polemic.... By the end she had gone so far as to declare herself a pacifist." After the war she joined the Women's International League. Other members included Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Chrystal Macmillan, Sylvia Pankhurst, Charlotte Despard, Helen Crawfurd, Mary Barbour, Agnes Dollan, Ethel Snowden, Ellen Wilkinson, Selina Cooper, Margery Corbett-Ashby, Helena Swanwick and Olive Schreiner.
Her first novel, The Pot Boils, was published in 1919. Her marriage to Charles Douglas Clarke came to an end and in January 1924 she met Guy Chapman. He later commented: "She was wearing a heavy coat over a faded pink knitted dress, and a hat which did not suit her, and she smiled at me. She was rather lovely, with long cool grubby fingers, and she held herself badly: she made me think of a well-bred foal, unbroken and enchantingly awkward. Something she said at that first meeting, I forget what, made me laugh with pure pleasure."
They soon began a relationship. The couple married on 1st February 1926. Later she wrote: "We went to places, obscure ruined monasteries, small provincial art galleries, the house in which a dead philosopher spent his life, salt marshes, trout streams, some turn in a rough nameless road which offered a view of a smiling valley and a line of hills, because, although he had not seen them, he knew they were there. He made all other company a little dull."
Storm Jameson continued to write novels, including a trilogy about a family of Yorkshire shipbuilders: The Lovely Ship (1927), The Voyage Home (1930) and a Richer Dust (1931). Other books include Women Against Men (1933), Company Parade (1934), Love in Winter (1935), and None Turn Back (1936). Jameson also published poems, essays, biographies and several volumes of autobiography including No Time Like the Present (1933).
In September 1932 Storm Jameson became close friends with Vera Brittain. The two women had both lost brothers during the First World War and as a result became committed pacifists. Jameson reviewed Testament of Youth in the Sunday Times and said that as a representation of war from a woman's perspective "makes it unforgettable".
Storm Jameson became involved with the British section of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers. At a meeting in January 1934 it was decided to publish a new Marxist journal. The Left Review first appeared in October 1934. Contributors included Storm Jameson, Edgell Rickword, Tom Wintringham, Ralph Fox, John Strachey, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Montagu Slater, A.L. Lloyd, Hugh MacDiarmid, Amabel Williams-Ellis, A. L. Morton, Nancy Cunard, F. D. Kingender, Valentine Ackland, W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Edward Upward, Cecil Day-Lewis, Randall Swingler, Jack Lindsay, Margaret Storm Jameson, Naomi Mitchison, Winifred Holtby, Henry Hamilton Fyfe, Eric Gill, Herbert Read and George Barker.
On 7 July, 1934, the British Union of Fascists held a large rally at Olympia. About 500 anti-fascists including Storm Jameson, Vera Brittain, Richard Sheppard and Aldous Huxley, managed to get inside the hall. When they began heckling Oswald Mosley they were attacked by 1,000 black-shirted stewards. Several of the protesters were badly beaten by the fascists. Jameson argued in The Daily Telegraph: "A young woman carried past me by five Blackshirts, her clothes half torn off and her mouth and nose closed by the large hand of one; her head was forced back by the pressure and she must have been in considerable pain. I mention her especially since I have seen a reference to the delicacy with which women interrupters were left to women Blackshirts. This is merely untrue... Why train decent young men to indulge in such peculiarly nasty brutality? There was a public outcry about this violence and Lord Rothermere and his Daily Mail withdrew its support of the BUF. Over the next few months membership went into decline.
Jameson also became friendly with Richard Sheppard, a canon of St. Paul's Cathedral. He had been an army chaplain during the First World War. A committed pacifist, he was concerned by the failure of the major nations to agree to international disarmament and on 16th October 1934, he had a letter published in the Manchester Guardian inviting men to send him a postcard giving their undertaking to "renounce war and never again to support another." Within two days 2,500 men responded and over the next few weeks around 30,000 pledged their support for Sheppard's campaign.
In July 1935 Sheppard chaired a meeting of 7,000 members of his new organization at the Albert Hall in London. Eventually named the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), it achieved 100,000 members over the next few months. The organization now included other prominent religious, political and literary figures including Storm Jameson, Arthur Ponsonby, George Lansbury, Vera Brittain, Wilfred Wellock, Max Plowman, Maude Royden, Frank P. Crozier, Alfred Salter, Ada Salter, Siegfried Sassoon, Donald Soper, Aldous Huxley, Laurence Housman and Bertrand Russell.
Jameson was also concerned with the emergence of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. In an article for Time and Tide on 6th June, 1936 she called for the Labour Party to work with the Communist Party of Great Britain to create a Popular Front movement. "The reanimation of the Labour Party - by (1) a change in its constitution. The statement that the Labour Party is ruled by the Trade Unions is delusive. As constituted, it is ruled by a narrow oligarchy of Trade Union leaders, as much out of touch with their rank and file as is the executive of the Labour Party with the Party rank and file. (2) An alliance, on the basis of an exactly defined programme, with the progressive Liberals, I.L.P. and Communist Party, as distinct from a shabby vote-catching agreement between leaders - is a preliminary step towards the only form of Popular Front worth voting for. Apart from a People's Front, what indeed is there to hope for in the political future? And without it, what hope of averting the eventual triumph of reaction by the default of the Labour Party?"
Storm Jameson remained a member of Peace Pledge Union until Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of France in May 1940. She wrote: "I had joined Dick Shepherd when he started it, in October 1934. Then, I was absolutely certain that war is viler than anything else imaginable... I don't think that now."
Jameson published a second volume of autobiography, Journey from the North in 1969. For many years Jameson was president of the International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists (PEN).
After her husband's death on 30th June 1972, Storm Jameson edited A Kind of Survivor (1975), a selection of Chapman's autobiographical writings.
Storm Jameson died in 1986.