Hirst was born 10 June 1873 at Huddersfield, Yorkshire and died 22 February 1853 at Singleton, Suffolk. He was one of five children of a wool merchant, Alfred Hirst, and his wife, Mary Wrigley; his mother was a distant cousin of the Liberal politician H.H. Asquith. He was educated at Clifton school and then won a scholarship to Wadham College, Oxford in 1891, where he took a first in literae humaniores in 1896 and was also president of the Oxford Union. In 1896 he went to London to study at the London School of Economics, then the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar in 1899. He practised law but did not flourish, apparently preferring a more contemplative way of life and becoming increasingly interested in writing.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.