Catherine Heath was born Catherine Hirsch in Hendon in 1924. The child of Dutch emigré Lutheran-Jewish parents, she was brought up according to their strictly religious principles, and grew passionately attached to the Christian Liberal values in which she believed. She read English Language and Literature at St Hilda's College, Oxford, 1943-6, with Helen Gardner and Dorothy Whitelock for her tutors. In 1948 she married Denis Heath, who had read Chemistry at Brasenose, and they adopted a son and a daughter. She was Assistant lecturer in English at the University of Wales from 1948 to 1950: twenty-two years old, teaching returned ex-servicemen. She then became Lecturer at Carshalton College of Further Education in Surrey, 1964-70; Senior Lecturer there, 1970-87. She and Denis were divorced in 1980. She died of cancer in Sutton in 1991.