HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US   LINKS      
 

 
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...
 

Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star T-shirt ad
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
Salford Star photo stories
Cornerstone advert
Mary Burns Publishing
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD PENSIONERS IN LINE FOR ALMOST £500,000 CUTS
social care is now top heavy in Councils. Councils also prefer to use the private sector - it is cheaper!... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL MUST SIGN ETHICAL CARE CHARTER TO PROTECT VULNERABLE
Salford City Council staff have been given the green light to launch a new company to deliver £10.5 million worth of adult social ... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL MUST SIGN ETHICAL CARE CHARTER TO PROTECT VULNERABLE
I'm disgusted with the like of Stewart and Dennett. I voted for both of them. And Paul Dennett didn't give me the courtesy of re... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL MUST SIGN ETHICAL CARE CHARTER TO PROTECT VULNERABLE
Father in law (81) discharged from Hope Hospital L ward on Sunday evening 29th March after bad fall. Sent home to COLD house. Coul... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL MUST SIGN ETHICAL CARE CHARTER TO PROTECT VULNERABLE
Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, will never sign, on behalf of Salford, an "Ethical Care Policy". That would mean the Vulnerable in the... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD COUNCIL MUST SIGN ETHICAL CARE CHARTER TO PROTECT VULNERABLE

Star date: 31st March 2014

WHY ISN'T SALFORD AN ETHICAL CARE COUNCIL?

Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, makes a big deal about this being a Living Wage City and protecting the vulnerable, yet Salford City Council still hasn't signed the Ethical Care Charter which puts an end to the practice of fifteen minute visits for the sick and elderly, and ensures that care workers are paid a living wage.

As Salford privatises the last remnants of its adult services, the Charter guarantees ethical care for all citizens. Lancashire, Reading and Camden are amongst those who have become ethical care councils. Why not Salford?

Full details here...

SALFORD PENSIONERS IN LINE FOR ALMOST £500,000 CUTS

Star date: 30th March 2015

SALFORD ELDERLY PEOPLE GET HAMMERED BY HUGE CUTS

Did someone say something about protecting pensioners? In two days time, Salford Council is set to push through £495,000 of cuts to supporting older people in sheltered housing schemes run by the likes of City West, Anchor, Irwell Valley and Great Places.

From April, some elderly tenants will be charged up to £25 a month extra, while others will lose support services as wardens are 'rationalised'...

Full details here...

HUNDREDS CALL FOR GREATER MANCHESTER DEVOLUTION REFERENDUM AT PROTEST RALLY

Star date: 29th March 2015

GREATER MANCHESTER PRO-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT BEGINS WITH PUBLIC RALLY IN PICCADILLY GARDENS

"We don't think the correct level of consultation on this issue is for ten men to sit around a table with a Tory Chancellor..." Annette Wright MTUC

Referendum Man was here; so was a Mayoral gimp on a lead held by axe wielding Chancellor George Osborne...and hundreds of campaigners calling for a proper public discussion and vote on the devolution of health, social care and public service budgets to Greater Manchester.

Trade unions and NHS defence campaigns came together as Penny Hicks, from the People's Assembly told the crowd... "In this city of the suffragettes isn't it ironic that we're here demanding a vote for such a basic change that's happening?"

Full details here...

SALFORD GIRL LOOKS TO TAKE MISS MANCHESTER CROWN

Star date: 28th March 2015

CAN SALFORD TAKE MANCHESTER?

"It would be fab if a Salford girl won!" Sara

As Manchester continues its takeover of Salford, a Salford girl is aiming to turn the tide and take the title of Miss Manchester. 

17 year old Sara Humphreys, a Disney Princess impersonator from Walkden, says that the competition is more than a pageant and involves raising money for good causes. But to win that Manchester title she needs Salford people's help.

Full details here...

SALFORD COUNCIL TO WAIVE ANOTHER £1.6MILLION IN PLANNING FEES

Star date: 27th March 2015

DEVELOPERS IN ORDSALL AND WALKDEN TO BE LET OFF WITH £1.68MILLION AND PROVISION OF OVER 100 AFFORDABLE HOUSES

In the latest round of planning giveaways, Salford Council is set to waive obligations for the provision of 111 affordable houses and £1.68million in planning fees for developers building over five hundred flats and houses in Ordsall and Walkden.

If councillors accept Council officer recommendations, Countryside Properties will avoid over £450,000 in fees for its Walkden development, while Villafont Ltd and Simandhar Swami LLP will avoid a cool £1.2million in fees for building eight blocks of flats and shops, up to fifteen storeys high, by the riverside in Ordsall.

Full details here...

 



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