Edwin Waugh (1817 Rochdale – 1890 New Brighton), poet, son of a shoemaker, was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, England and, after a little schooling, apprenticed to a printer, Thomas Holden, at the age of 12. While still a young man he worked as a journeyman printer, travelling all over Britain, but eventually returned to his old job in Rochdale.
Waugh read eagerly, and in 1847 became assistant secretary to the Lancashire Public School Association and went to work in Manchester. He first attracted attention by his sketches of Lancashire life and character in the Manchester Examiner. His first book Sketches of Lancashire Life and Localities was published in 1855 while he was working as a traveller for a Manchester printing firm. He wrote also in prose Factory Folk, Besom Ben Stories, and The Chimney Corner. By 1860 he was able to become a full-time writer but by 1881 he was in poor health and was granted a Civil List pension of £90 p.a. His best work was, perhaps, his Lancashire dialect songs, collected as Poems and Songs (1859), which brought him great local fame. He was possessed of considerable literary gift, and has been called "the Lancashire Burns." His most famous poem is "Come whoam to thi childer an' me", 1856.
Waugh died at his home in New Brighton, Cheshire, in 1890 and was buried in St. Paul's churchyard on Kersal Moor. Waugh's Well was built in 1866 to commemorate him at Fo' Edge Farm, on the moors above Edenfield, Rossendale where he spent much time writing. Fo' Edge, was completely demolished by the North West Water Authority in the mid-1970s and no trace remains of the building.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource
- Works by Edwin Waugh at Project Gutenberg
- Archival material relating to Edwin Waugh listed at the UK National Archives
- Works by or about Edwin Waugh in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Edwin Waugh at gerald-massey.org.uk