Born 19th August 1914 at 9, Green Bank Street in an area of Tyldesley known as the Jigs, Frank Seddon was destined to work in coal mining from birth. He was one of ten children, three girls and seven boys, all of the boys worked in collieries, although the two youngest never worked underground. Although his family were very poor, they were reasonably happy and close. Things were made easier when some of the older boys began working. Frank was the dreamer and musician of the family, many of his poems are full of memories of his childhood days.
Frank's father, Edward, was a miner during the days of private ownership, often being barred from working in the mines due to his stance on wages and conditions. He 'got back' into mining after he had voluntarily gone in to help after the Pretoria Pit disaster in 1910. He died in his early 50's. He had his face crushed in a rock fall and afterwards could not breath properly. He had Anthracosis, Miners Lung, and died in Peel Hall Sanatorium in 1940. As frequently happened in those days, his death was listed as Tuberculosis, hence no compensation.
Frank met the love of his life, Martha Ann Grundy, a quiet ladylike young woman. She was born in the village of Astley, by the canal, where her mother kept a small shop, selling sweets, tobacco and some essentials to the passing trade from the barges on the canal. Prior to her marriage Martha earned her living as a cotton weaver, looking after ten looms, she hated it. Martha's father, Tom, was a miner and her mother Hannah, known as Annie, was in service as a house servant, until she married.
Frank and Martha Ann married in September 1937. They moved into a new house in Pear Tree Grove, Tyldesley. They had two children, Ann and Frank.
Ann recalls that they were blessed with a happy secure childhood. "Our dad would take us for walks, which were adventures into wonderland. He made up stories about everything we saw: giants, fairies etc. He and mum taught us to appreciate nature and God's creation, and a belief in the worth of man. They taught us to fight for what is right and honourable. Although dad was quite strict with us, we always knew that we were loved. I remember laughing, to Dad's amazement, when he was telling us of ringing up to the surface that day. He had demanded that they send down more cabbage heads and elephants feet. He did not think he had said anything amusing. He explained that they were the names given to the 'chocks' used at the top and bottom of pit props. We loved it when dad returned from work when a strike was called. Of course we did not understand the implications, we were only interested in his sandwiches from his Tommy Tin."
Ann continued "Jam butties never tasted half as good as those that had been squashed in his snap tin. At home we spent many times around the piano, with either mum or dad playing as we all sang songs. Dad played by ear and invented his own way of writing the notes down so that we could play too. I think maybe he became a serious poet after mum died of asthma in May 1958, she was only 43 years old He must have filled his mind with words to help keep the grief at bay. Dear Grandma Seddon, our encourager, died the year after my Mother, a double blow to Dad, he had lost his wife and mother inside ten months."
Frank worked down the mine from the age of fourteen to the day he was made redundant in the 1960s. First on the tubs, then on the coalface, then as a deputy fireman. As coal mining was a reserved occupation he never did any National Service, apart from risking life and limb on daily basis, for the nation's coal. He became a Sergeant in the Home Guard, going out on manoeuvres after a grindingly hard shift at the coalface. Many others were in the same situation; like him they just got on with it.
Ann, her husband Gordon and their son Duncan Frank emigrated to Australia in 1968. Frank joined them a year later. In 1970 Ann gave birth to Laura Ann. Frank's son Frank and his wife Sue later gave him two more grandchildren, Richard and Sarah.
Frank was a prolific poet, having written more than 700 poems. He had the delight of seeing many poems in print. He loved to send poems home to his brothers John and Albert who were serious pigeon men, Frank had helped them with their pigeons when he lived in Tyldesley. They in turn took the poems to the Pigeon Club meetings, for the enjoyment of the pigeon fraternity. Eventually they were sent to the magazine The Pigeon Fanciers World. The editor published them on a regular basis. One poem was read over the air from a regional radio station. And in his twilight years, when he embraced a deeper relationship with the Lord, he had many published in the weekly church magazine. Frank got a lot of satisfaction from his limited exposure.
January 1991 sadly saw the death of Frank Seddon, aged 76 years, in Frankston near Melbourne Australia. The main cause of his death was Pneumoconiosis. His ashes were scattered in two locations: on his beloved wife's grave and on the Port Phillip Bay off Chelsea, Victoria, Australia. A place where he used to just sit and enjoy the sea in all it's moods or go out in a boat for a spot of fishing. His many years in the mines were a contributory factor to his death but he enjoyed the later years of his life spent in the sunshine. He loved his hometown and the Lancashire folk to the end but he also loved Australia with a passion.
Frank Seddon
Frank Seddon

A short selection of
more than 700 poems
written by
Frank Seddon
Before the Machine
The Coal Mine
Dad's Army
Dad's Army Rides Again
The Dying Miner
Green Bank Street
A Happy Man
Heat Wave
Hungry Days
A Lancashire Morning
A Man's Job
The Mosley Common Deputy
A Nation's Debt
The Old Days
The Pain of Progress
A Penny Hero
The Pie Man
Premonition at Pretoria
A Village Tragedy

Astley Green Colliery Museum