Lord Asa Briggs was born in 7 May 1921 in Keighley, West Riding, Yorkshire. He was educated at Keighley Boys' Grammar School before gaining a BA from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and a BSc in Economics from the University of London External Programme.
During World War II he served in the Intelligence Corps and worked at the British wartime codebreaking station, Bletchley Park.
He was Professor of History at the University of Sussex between 1961 and 1976. He has written on the Victorian era and social history and is a well respected historian.
In 1976 he was created a life peer as Baron Briggs, of Lewes in the County of East Sussex. In 2002, he co-wrote A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet with Peter Burke.