Hugh West was born in York in 1950 and lived in Yorkshire until he was 6 years old. He moved to Wales when his father took over the management of a large farm estate in Breconshire. At seventeen he left to study at Hereford School of Art & Design, transferring to Redruth School of Art to take a further ceramics course for which he was awarded a diploma with distinction. After work experience with several established potters, he opened his own pottery in Newquay in 1971.
An opportunity arose in 1975 to begin a large production pottery in Devon on the Flete estate. After this in 1982, Hugh West took his family to La Borne in the department of Cher, France, where an ancient pottery village still survives, repeating the traditional forms and ways of wood firing important to that region of central France, using an anagama kiln.
In 2000 he went again to live and work in La Borne.
Hugh West did a number of one-man shows in Britain; collective shows in Europe, Japan, the USA, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and, in 1996, a 25th anniversary in Truro. He was a member of the Cornwall Crafts Associations, the West Country Potters Association and the Penwith Society of Arts. He is now a member of the Association of Potters of La Borne.
He returned to Cornwall in January 2014 and renewed his membership of the Cornwall Crafts Association.