William Job Collins

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Sir William Job Collins

Sir William Job Collins KCVO (9 May 1859 – 11 December 1946) was a surgeon and later a Liberal politician and legislator.


He was born at 46 Gloucester Road, Regent's Park, London[1] the eldest son of William Job Collins (also a doctor) and Mary Anne Francisca (née Treacher). He attended University College School, London, and began his medical training at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where he became ophthalmic house surgeon, extern midwifery assistant and assistant demonstrator of anatomy at the medical school. His Times obituary reported that ' his further progress toward the staff of the school was barred by the heterodox views he held, and freely expressed, on the subject of vaccination' .

He subsequently became a Fellow, Scholar and gold medallist in Sanitary Science and Obstetrics at the University of London, graduating as BSc in 1880 and MD in 1881.

Along with Charles Creighton and Edgar Crookshank, he become one of a small number of medical critics of smallpox vaccination in the late 19th century. He was also a member of the Royal Commission on Vaccination, 1889-1896.

He later specialised in anatomy and ophthalmology, in 1918 receiving the University of Oxford Doyne Ophthalmic Medal, having been knighted in 1902. He served two terms as Vice-Chancellor of the University of London in 1907-1909 and 1911-12.

Political career

In later life he turned to politics, elected as member of London County Council for St Pancras in 1892, reaching the office of chairman in 1897. In 1904, Collins was the first chairman of the education committee, which laid the foundation of the education service in London.

He was elected Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for St Pancras West, 1906–1910, and for Derby in 1917-18. In parliament he was particularly instrumental in promoting the Metropolitan Ambulance Act, that resulted in the establishment of the London ambulance service.

He served on various government committees, including the Vivisection Committee 1906-1912, as British plenipotentiary at the international opium conferences at The Hague, 1911–1914, the Sussex Agricultural Wages Committee, and the Select Committee on the Hop Industry.

He was awarded a KCVO in 1914, and served as Vice-Lieutenant of the County of London, 1925-1945.

Personal life

On 2 August 1898 Collins married Jane Stevenson Wilson (c,1855-1936), daughter of John Wilson, MP for Govan. Jane was a Sister at the National Temperance Hospital in Hampstead Road, north London. He died at 1 Albert Terrace, Regent's Park where he had lived since the age of two.[1]


  • 1883 Sir Lyon Playfair's Logic LONDON: E.W. ALLEN
  • 1883 A Review of the Norwich Vaccination Inquiry LONDON: E.W. ALLEN
  • 1884 Specificity and Evolution in Disease

See also


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harry Robert Graham
Member of Parliament for St Pancras West
1906Dec. 1910
Succeeded by
Felix Cassel
Preceded by
Thomas Roe and
James Henry Thomas
Member of Parliament for Derby
With: James Henry Thomas
Succeeded by
Albert Green and
James Henry Thomas
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Arnold
Chairman of the London County Council
1897 – 1898
Succeeded by
Thomas McKinnon Wood
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Edward Henry Busk
Vice-Chancellor of the University of London
Succeeded by
Professor Micaiah John Muller Hill
Preceded by
Professor Micaiah John Muller Hill
Vice-Chancellor of the University of London
Succeeded by
Sir Wilmot Parker Herringham KCMG CB