He was born at Knaresborough on 12 June 1892. His father Philip Inman died in 1894, leaving his mother Hannah, to bring up four children. At nine he began working in a shop in the town, this the family worshipping in the parish church, but on moving to Scrivener, a little to the north, where there was no Anglican church, they attended the newly built Wesleyan chapel. Subsequently, he was accepted as a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry and went to Headingley College, Leeds, but in 1914 he left to enlist, only to be invalided out on health grounds with consumption.
Whether he remained Methodist is unlikely, as he was then offered a place at Ridley Hall with the intent of becoming an Anglican cleric. However, he was then appointed Secretary to the London Hospital Saturday Fund and then from 1921 the Chief Administrator to Charing Cross Hospital, becoming its Chairman in 1936.
An active member of the Labour Party, he was appointed the candidate for Middlesbrough West in 1930, but had to withdraw on health grounds. However, he was raised to the peerage in 1946, serving as Lord Privy Seal April to October 1947, when he resigned to become the Chairman of British Transports Hotels Executive. He was also the Chairman of the Brotherhood Movement, 1938, and served also as Chairman of the BBC and was a member of the Church Assemblys Board of Finance.
He died in 1979. Although there was a son, Philip John Cope Inman (1929-1968), the title ended as he predeceased his father.