Matthew William Parrington was born in 1847 in Eston, near Middlesbrough. He worked in the local Normanby and South Skelton ironstone mines and Page Bank Colliery near Durham, and in 1873 moved to Wearmouth Colliery, Sunderland, where he spent the rest of his career as manager and director.
He became a member of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers in 1864; became President from 1910 to 1912 and was Honorary Secretary from January 1917 to August 1921. He was also Vice President of the Institution of Mining Engineers from 1900 to 1902.
Parrington was a director of Glaholm & Robson, wire rope manufactures of Sunderland.
He died in 1925 and was buried at Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.