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
Salford Star contact
advertisement
Salford Star print
Tory Party Conference Oct 2015
Cornerstone ad new
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD AND MANCHESTER PUNK: THE 40TH SUMMER EXHIBITION
Are you open at the weekend and if so what time ?... [more]
article: LOST SALFORD STREETS EXHIBITION
Does anyone know where Long Street was in Broughton? I just found out I was born there but can't find it on a search. Thanks.... [more]
article: JEREMY CORBYN LAUNCHES LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP BID IN SALFORD
One little question for the Agent Provocateur we know and love/hate known as Mr Felse...Is he still a member of the Labour party ?... [more]
article: JEREMY CORBYN LAUNCHES LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP BID IN SALFORD
Hi Rachel. One fact is I never lie. All these facts are reported in this months newspapers. The only one making things up is Mr Je... [more]
article: JEREMY CORBYN LAUNCHES LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP BID IN SALFORD
Michael James Felse: still busy making things up. Everything you say is fiction. You have no credibility.... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

MARWAN KOUKASH STAYING WITH SALFORD RED DEVILS AS HULL GET VICTORY

Star date: 23rd July 2016

SALFORD RED DEVILS 20 HULL FC 28

Hull got the victory at Salford last night but fans were still happy after Marwan Koukash confirmed in a meeting prior to the game that he is staying for a further two years.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils also confirmed two new signings, as Simon Williams reports…

Match report and details here…

BRIT URBAN ANGST DRAMA THE VIOLATORS OUT ON DVD

Star date: 23rd July 2016  

SEXPLOITATION AND SALFORD'S STEPHEN LORD FIRE THE VIOLATORS

Helen Walsh's The Violators, a 2016 tale of sexploitation, poverty and urban angst in the Government-violated North, is out on DVD this week, following rave reviews on its cinematic release.

Starring Salford actor, Stephen Lord, and rising stars, Lauren McQueen and Brogan Ellis, The Violators is well worth viewing on the small screen.

Full details here…

JEREMY CORBYN LAUNCHES LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP BID IN SALFORD

Star date: 22nd July 2016  

CORBYN COMES TO SALFORD TO LAUNCH LEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN – BUT HE THINKS IT'S IN MANCHESTER!

Jeremy Corbyn has chosen to launch his Labour Party leadership bid at The Lowry tomorrow, 23rd July at 2pm. Unfortunately, however, his `people' seem to think Salford Quays is in Manchester…

"Join Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday in Manchester for the official public launch of the campaign…" states the publicity. Hopefully, Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long Bailey, who is speaking at the rally, can tell the popular politician where he is…

Full details here…

NINE YEAR WAITING LIST FOR SALFORD AFFORDABLE ONE BED FLATS

Star date: 21st July 2016

WHILE BEDROOM TAX VICTIMS SUFFER, THERE'S LOADS OF FLATS FOR THE RICH

Salford City Council has revealed that there is an 8.7 year `queue' on its social housing register for a one bedroom flat, with demand rocketing "in the light of the Bedroom Tax".

Meanwhile, the number of unaffordable one bedroom flats in the city has been mushrooming, with Salford planning councillors, Antrobus and Mashiter, partying recently at CitySuites' 17 storey Greengate tower containing 244 `luxury' apartments. CitySuites avoided almost £500,000 in planning fees and the provision of affordable properties.

Full details here…

PENDLETON DEMOLITIONS SEE MORE SALFORD SOCIAL CLEANSING

Star date: 20th July 2016

ALMOST 150 HIGH STREET ESTATE HOUSES TO GET BULLDOZED – BUT ONLY 52 AFFORDABLE REPLACEMENT HOMES TO BE BUILT

"If they make a decision it should be for the people who are here, not for the people they want to bring in" Evelyn Scott, resident.

Salford City Council has approved `decant notices' for families living in 149 homes on Pendleton's High Street estate which will be bulldozed – but is only providing 52 `affordable rented homes' for people to `decant' into, in what will be seen as more social cleansing in the city.

Meanwhile, after years of anguish, the Council has confirmed that Fitzwarren Court and Rosehill Close are to be saved from demolition.

Full details here...

 



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