A poet and radical, Collins born on 1st December 1802 at Hollinwood, near Manchester, was the son of a hand-loom weaver. He began his working life while still very young and before he had any education beyond basic literacy. While still in his teens, he became an ardent follower of Henry Hunt and Cobbett and was present at the Peterloo massacre in 1819. During the 1830s and 1840s, he was involved with the Chartist movement. He joined a local radical association, and deployed his pen and tongue on behalf of the reform movement. He suffered for a time some obloquy for his temerity in denouncing Feargus O’Connor’s land scheme.
Collins wrote homely verses, some of them in the Lancashire dialect, which were collected in 1859 in a small volume, entitled Miscellaneous Poems and Songs, with a biographical notice by Benjamin Brierley. Collins, who worked at his loom almost to the last, died at Hale Moss, Chadderton, near Manchester, on 8th July 1878, leaving a son, Joseph Collins.