It is at last being recognized that, contrary to common understanding, there were working-class women poets in the nineteenth century. Yet this growing awareness is rarely accompanied by a sustained engagement with their poetry. Painstaking research into the life and work of an author remains constricted to the Brownings and Rossettis of both sexes. The present study breaks with this academic habit. It is a critical biography of the Glaswegian writer who signed her poems as 'The Factory Girl'. It situates Ellen Johnston at the intersection of gender, class and nation. It documents her range of subjects, styles and voices. The book is concluded by a selection of Ellen Johnston's verse.