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 2:09:05 PM on Friday, December 11, 2015
Capitalism is killing the world, we have left it too long a time to change!
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD COUNCILLORS TELL MAYOR ‘NO SURRENDER’ TO PEEL HOLDINGS OVER BARTON LIFTING BRIDGE
Bridge/A57: What does this Paul Dennett stand for? Name me 10 positive actions which may be credited to this helium filled caricat... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCILLORS TELL MAYOR ‘NO SURRENDER’ TO PEEL HOLDINGS OVER BARTON LIFTING BRIDGE
As usual Salford city Council will bow down to Peel. Peel RUN Salford City council not our councillors.They are just yes Men/Women... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCILLORS TELL MAYOR ‘NO SURRENDER’ TO PEEL HOLDINGS OVER BARTON LIFTING BRIDGE
I can only think the wake up call by local activists has forced the Irlam Labour Councillors voices on this bridge. Well done to t... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCILLORS TELL MAYOR ‘NO SURRENDER’ TO PEEL HOLDINGS OVER BARTON LIFTING BRIDGE
roger jones now trying to be the local hero to save his own skin. its his council that have fucked us all over once again. The man... [more]
article: SALFORD MP REBECCA LONG-BAILEY JOINS 100 MPS CALLING FOR FOSSIL FREE PENSION FUND
Total disgrace on England's MPs. Not a single penny should go into Fracking. The MPs pension fund should be put into building new ... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD COUNCILLORS TELL MAYOR ‘NO SURRENDER’ TO PEEL HOLDINGS OVER BARTON LIFTING BRIDGE

Star date: 13th December 2017

AS BRIDGE ROW RUMBLES ON, IRLAM RESIDENTS OPEN CONTROVERSIAL BRIDGE THEMSELVES

Local councillors in Irlam and Cadishead have told Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, not to give in to Peel Holdings 'ransom' in the legal row over the opening of the Barton Lifting Bridge. The Salford Star understands that the company has not yet even responded to Salford Council's letter setting out why the bridge is Peel's responsibility.

Meanwhile, fed up of waiting for Peel Holdings and Salford City Council to resolve their legal differences, yesterday campaigners took matters into their own hands and gave the bridge a champagne opening.

Full details here...

SALFORD MP REBECCA LONG-BAILEY JOINS 100 MPS CALLING FOR FOSSIL FREE PENSION FUND

Star date: 12th December 2017

100 MPS CALL FOR £612MILLION PARLIAMENT PENSION FUND TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS

"Fossil fuels helped ignite the first industrial revolution, but we now know that their continued use will threaten our very existence" Rebecca Long-Bailey

Salford and Eccles MP, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has joined one hundred other MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, in calling for the £612million Parliamentary Pension Fund to divest from oil, coal and gas companies.

Today, fifty heads of state, including Theresa May, are meeting in Paris for a summit on climate change and climate finance hosted by French President Macron.

Full details here...

BBC LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTER SHAM AS CONTRACTS HANDED TO MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS PUBLISHER

Star date: 11th December 2017

£8 MILLION BBC NEWS PARTNERSHIP SEES MAINSTREAM COMMERCIAL MEDIA BENEFIT

"This is a major advance...leading to greater public accountability for our local politicians" BBC

The BBC has announced that its new massively funded Local Democracy Reporter scheme is set to benefit the profit-driven mainstream media, with Manchester Evening News publisher, Trinity Mirror, getting six funded reporters in Greater Manchester.

The Salford Star pulled out of the process months ago, with the board telling the BBC "To us it seemed administratively complex and there were doubts about reporter freedom".

Full details here...

SALFORD HAS A LAUGH FOR MALE SUICIDE PREVENTION CAMPAIGN

Star date: 10th December 2017

BIGGEST THREAT TO MEN UNDER 45 IS THEMSELVES

It's A Laugh
Tuesday 12th December 7pm
The Old Pint Pot £5

Two snowmen in a field, one turns to the other and says 'Can you smell carrots?'

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, so Salford University students are holding a fundraising evening of comedy and music, in support of the Campaign Against Living Miserably at The Old Pint Pot on Tuesday, hosted by Amy Gledhill and featuring six top comedians.

Full details here...

SWINTON SQUARE SEES CAROLS, FROZEN PRINCESSES AND SANTA

Star date: 10th December 2017

SWINTON CHRISTMAS IN FULL FLOW

Christmas at Swinton Square
Saturday 16th and Saturday 23rd December free

Swinton Square is well set for Christmas as two special happenings on Saturdays before Christmas feature carols from Salford City Academy, a Frozen family show, a visit from Father Christmas and the chance for adults to win £100 spending money.

Full details here...

 



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