Ernest Jones was born in Gowerton in Wales on 1 Jan 1879. He began his degree in medicine at the University of Cardiff but completed it at University College London in 1900.
Jones discovered the work of Sigmund Freud in 1906 and soon began to practice psychoanalysis. He first met Freud at the first International Psychoanalytical Congress held in Salzburg in 1908. In the same year, Jones emigrated to become Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and whilst in North America, he organised the inaugural meeting of the American Psychoanalytical Association in 1911.
After a brief analysis with Ferenczi, Jones returned to London in 1913 and set about forming the London Psychoanalytical Society, only four of whose original fifteen members were psychoanalysts. The Society was dissolved after the end of the First World War.
In 1919, Jones managed to re-establish contact with the psychoanalytic community in Europe and founded the British Psychoanalytic Society, of which he remained president until 1944. He was twice president of the International Psychoanalytical Association (1920-1924 and 1932-1939) and took charge of the resettlement of analysts fleeing Nazi persecution.
In 1947, he began writing his three-volume biography of Freud, which he completed in 1957. He died on 11 Feb 1958. He married twice, first to the Welsh singer and musician Morfydd Llwynn Owen in 1917 (she died in 1918) and in 1919 to Katherine Jökl, an Austrian.