HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
MARY BURNS SUPERSTAR
 

From Salford Star issue 6 Winter 2007

THE MYSTERIOUS SALFORD SUPERSTAR MARY BURNS...

She's been honoured in Salford Star with her own Mary Burns Page and the annual Mary Burns Awards but who was Mary Burns?

Click here to find out...


MARY BURNS MARY BURNS
click image to enlarge

MARY BURNS...

International people's superstar and woman of mystery.

There was Karl Marx…There was Friedrich Engels…And there was Mary BurnsMary Burns? You don't see her portrait being paraded around Cuba or revered on stamps and coins. But when it comes to Salford's heritage she's the number one woman…And she was proper working class…

Yet no-one's ever heard of Mary Burns. And no-one can ever see her. She's a total mystery. There's no record of her birth, nor any surviving photos, and those who are into this stuff have spent years trying to find out more about her. Without a great deal of success.

What we do know is that she copped off with Fred Engels, lived with him for around twenty years, and without Mary Burns no-one would have found out about The Condition of the Working Class 1844 because she took him round and showed him the worst districts of Salford and Manchester for his research.

They say that if you can't change your doorstep you can't change the world. Basically, Mary showed Engels her doorstep and inspired him to change the world.

The only biographical reference to her was in two book about Engels, one by Max Beer in 1935 who wrote that Engels "lived in free union with an Irish girl of the people, Mary Burns, who had worked in his father's factory" and one by Edmund Wilson in 1941 who wrote that Engels "was having a love affair with an Irish girl named Mary Burns who worked in the factory of Ermen and Engels and had been promoted to run a new machine called a `self actor'. She seems to have been a woman of some independence of character as she is said to have refused his offer to relieve her of the necessity of working.

"She had, however, allowed him to set up her and her sister in a little house in the suburb of Salford where the coal barges and chimneys of Manchester gave way to the woods and fields...Mary Burns was a fierce Irish patriot and she fed Engels' revolutionary enthusiasm at the same time that she served him as a guide to the infernal abysses of the city."

Wilson gives no proof for all this, and Roy Whitfield in his book Friedrich Engels in Manchester, written in 1988, argued that Mary was actually from the Deansgate area on the Manchester side of the border with Salford, but accepted that his work was well researched speculation. Whitfield did, however, prove where she was born from the 1861 Census return when she gave her age as 38 and her birthplace as Manchester. Given that no-one knows where she actually lived, if Mary had pulled Fred while working in his Weaste factory, she was most likely to have lived in Salford.

The only direct reference to Mary Burns that survives is a letter from Marx to Engels on learning of her death saying she was "very good natured" and "witty", and a letter from Marx's daughter, Eleanor, saying that she was "very pretty, witty and an altogether charming girl…but in later years drank to excess." Sounds like she was, indeed, from Salford.

Mary Burns died on January 7 1863. No-one has ever found her grave. After Mary died, Fred lived with her sister, Lizzie, and married her on her deathbed.

CLICK HERE TO READ PART 1 OF FRED ENGELS IN SALFORD...
 

Jim Dixon wrote
at 20:09:05 on 11 December 2015
Capitalism is killing the world, we have left it too long a time to change!
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star CD
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD STAR EDITOR NAMED IN NCTJ LIST OF MOST RESPECTED JOURNALISTS IN UK
Ideally the Salford Star would be self funding if it could get enough advertising in. It would be great if it could get out in pri... [more]
article: ARTISTS TAKE UP RESIDENCE IN CONTROVERSIAL URBAN SPLASH SALFORD DEVELOPMENT
I’m no fan but I know for a fact Mr Bloxham doesn’t live in Worsley and does live in one of his own developments - there’s plenty ... [more]
article: ARTISTS TAKE UP RESIDENCE IN CONTROVERSIAL URBAN SPLASH SALFORD DEVELOPMENT
This Mr Bloxham they are talking about. Is he the same one that was persuaded by Hazel Blears to save all the upside down houses n... [more]
article: ARTISTS TAKE UP RESIDENCE IN CONTROVERSIAL URBAN SPLASH SALFORD DEVELOPMENT
Have I missed something? is it April 1st and I have got the wrong calendar out. The story borders sadly on farce what next. ... [more]
article: SALFORD STAR EDITOR NAMED IN NCTJ LIST OF MOST RESPECTED JOURNALISTS IN UK
you have to love the hypocrisy of the left.You have nothing positive to say about capitalism, but want others to put their hands i... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

ARTISTS TAKE UP RESIDENCE IN CONTROVERSIAL URBAN SPLASH SALFORD DEVELOPMENT

Star date: 15th October 2018

ARTISTS TO CHALLENGE HOUSING POLICIES WHILE LIVING IN LUXURY HOUSE

'You can't even stop your car to take in the breathtaking sterilization of the place...'

Last week, artists moved into a stunning Urban Splash house in the new Springfield Lane development as part of a year-long project called Tenancy in which they will explore 'what it's like to live in a city negotiating rapid change' and 'who is benefitting'.

The Springfield Lane development, being branded as in 'Manchester', has no affordable housing and avoided hundreds of thousands of pounds in planning fees. Can the artist project, actually sponsored by Tom Bloxham and Urban Splash, make a difference?

Full details here...

HUGE INTERNATIONAL FILIA WOMEN’S CONFERENCE COMES TO ECCLES

Star date: 14th October 2018

SALFORD STREET SUPPORT TO TALK AT LARGEST UK WOMEN'S RIGHTS CONFERENCE

FiLia 2018 Conference
Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st October
The Lighthouse, Eccles

The massive FiLiA international conference is to take place in Eccles next weekend, with women flying in from all over the world, including from Argentina and Palestine.

There's over two dozen sessions covering all feminist-related subjects, and from Salford, Angela Barratt of Salford and Manchester Street Support will be speaking on women and poverty, while Salford University lecturer, Suryia Nayak, will be giving an Introduction To Consciousness Raising.

Full details here...

COUNTESS WHO MURDERED 650 WOMEN ARRIVES AT EAGLE INN SALFORD

Star date: 14th October 2018

HUNGARIAN GOTHIC DRAMA BASED ON TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND VANITY

Countess
Monday 29th October 7pm and Tuesday 30th October 4pm and 7pm
Eagle Inn £10/£8

A truly gothic production of Countess arrives at the Eagle Inn on 29th and 30th October, based on the true story of Hungarian aristocrat, Elizabeth Bathory, who murdered 650 women for the sake of her vanity. This aims to get inside of her mind with a supernatural twist.

Full details here...

SALFORD WINTER WONDERLAND COMMUNITY COSTUME MAKING DAY

Star date: 14th October 2018

WOODY, BUZZ AND CHASE AT BROUGHTON CRICKET CLUB

Creating Carnival
Saturday 20th October 12noon-4pm free
Broughton Cricket and Rugby Club

Next Saturday, 20th October, Toy Story characters Buzz Lightyear and Woody, plus Paw Patrol's Chase and Santa and Mrs Claus will be at Broughton Cricket and Rugby Club as part of a free Salford Winter Wonderland community day, making costumes and props for a massive event and carnival parade happening at the end of November. It's free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Full details here...

GILL’S SALFORD WALK FOR DEMENTIA SET TO RAISE HUNDREDS OF POUNDS

Star date: 13th October 2018

WALK FOR DEMENTIA AND SALFORD SURVIVOR PROJECT

This evening, almost two dozen people set off on a very special sponsored walk around Agecroft Cemetery to raise money for the Pendleton Court Dementia Ward and the Salford Survivor Project which helps those subjected to domestic violence and abuse.

The walk was in memory of Niki Campbell, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend last year, and her mum, Jayne, joined the event which is set to raise hundreds of pounds for the excellent causes.

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx