William Billinge married Mary Harper in 1795, so he was born perhaps around 1770. No record of his birth can be identified, but the name Billinge was common in only two parts of England, in Northamptonshire and Lancashire.
Could a Lancashire tool-making family have sent him to Birmingham to take advantage of the huge need for tools? He was paying Land Tax for his rented stables and shop in Snow Hill from 1815 until at least 1829. When his son William was baptised in 1815, he was described as a Clock & Watch tool maker, whereas Wrightson’s Directory of 1815 demeaned him by classifying him as an ironmonger in general.