Born in Rochdale on January 29, 1817, Edwin Waugh became the undisputed "prince of dialect poets". He started his working career as an aprentice to Thomas Holding, a printer and bookseller. His work in the printing business took Waugh to London, Durham, Wakefield and Manchester. It was whilst he was in Manchester, in 1855, that he published his first book of prose entitled "Sketches of Lancashire Life and Localities." A year later his dialect poem, "Come whoam to thi childer an' me'" was published.
Waugh lived a life that was in stark contrast to the one he wrote about in his poetry. He had a stormy marriage and a life style that prompted Samuel Bamford to describe him as "a drunkard and a sponger". However, he was widely regarded a the premier writer of dialectic poetry and as a champion of the Lancashire dialect.
Edwin Waugh died on April 30, 1890. He is commemorated, along with other dialect writers, on a memorial in Broadfield Park, Rochdale, across the Esplanade from the Public Library.