William Billington (1825-1884) was a British poet. He learned to read and write at Catholic Sunday Schools. He was a founder member of the Blackburn Mechanic's Institute, taught grammar in a school in exchange for lessons in mathematics, advised trade unions and lectured on and debated religion and politics at any opportunity. He travelled around the North and Midlands to read and sell his poems. The subjects of Billington's writings in newspapers, broadsheets and pamphlets ranged widely. His reputation at first was as a public denier and assailant of religious belief, but by the time of his death he had become known as "The Blackburn Poet" and has since been remembered mainly for his dialect ballads about the impact on workers of the Cotton Famine of 1861-64. His works include: Sheen and Shade: Lyrical Poems (1861) and Lancashire Songs, With Other Poems and Sketches (1883).