Pat Collins (showman)

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Pat Collins in 1921

Patrick Collins (12 May 1859 - 9 December 1943) was a Liberal MP for Walsall (1922–1924) and Mayor of Walsall (1938), but is chiefly remembered for his involvement in the fairground industry. His name remains in the company "Pat Collins Funfairs". He was also an early presenter of moving pictures both in travelling shows and cinemas. At one point he was running 4 separate fairs a week as well as owning 13 cinemas and some skating rinks.[1]


Collins was born 12 May 1859 on a fairground in Chester, one of 5 children of John Collins an agricultural labourer of Irish descent.[2] He went to St. Werburgh Catholic School in Chester but left at the age of ten to go travelling with his family. He had two wives, Flora Ross (married 1880, died 1933) and Clara Mullett, who was his secretary. They married in 1934 and she survived him. Flora gave him a son, Patrick Ross Collins (born 7 March 1886) who continued the business. Pat Collins Ltd was created in 1899,[1] when he had established a round of fairs in the Black Country based on traditional holidays or 'Wakes' from August to October.[3]

He was President of the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain[4] from 1920 to 1929. He lived in Bloxwich in the borough of Walsall, where he became a Liberal Councillor in 1918, an Alderman in 1930, and Mayor of Walsall in 1938. In 1939 he was made a Freeman of the Borough of Walsall.[5] He also won a place as Liberal MP for Walsall in the 1922 General Election, retaining his seat in the 1923 elections but losing it in the 1924 general election to a Conservative, W. Preston.

He died at his home in Bloxwich in December 1943, aged 84, and was buried in the cemetery there.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Oxford Dictionary of National Biography retrieved 21-09-2008
  2. ^ Who was Who, OUP 2007
  3. ^ *Ned Williams All the fun of the fair
  4. ^ Showmen's Guild
  5. ^ The Times, 7 August 1939 p7

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Richard Cooper
Member of Parliament for Walsall
Succeeded by
William Preston