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 Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: PETITION AND PROTEST PLANNED OVER SALFORD SCHOOL HEAD TEACHER SUSPENSION
Poor record keeping means fraud. How can you have a petition when nobody actually knows what the suspension was for. Counc... [more]
article: SALFORD PEOPLE TO JUDGE WHETHER PLANNING COUNCILLOR BROKE RULES
Bob the regular, there is only one definition of permeability in planning law, and that is physically being able to move through t... [more]
article: SALFORD PEOPLE TO JUDGE WHETHER PLANNING COUNCILLOR BROKE RULES
Wrote, Salix could not use all their surplus funds all on one block of flats to the detriment to all their other properties. How d... [more]
article: SALFORD PEOPLE TO JUDGE WHETHER PLANNING COUNCILLOR BROKE RULES
"...where do you think Salix should magic the money to update the flats from." Just throwing a stick of butter in the mix here but... [more]
article: PETITION AND PROTEST PLANNED OVER SALFORD SCHOOL HEAD TEACHER SUSPENSION
Salford_lad is right. Suspensions don't happen without a reason, especially after a long investigation. I had a colleague, when I... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

A YEAR AFTER SALFORD CLADDING SCANDAL INDEPENDENT TENANTS MEETING TO BE HELD

Star date: 16th July 2018

CLADDING, SECURITY, FIRE SAFETY AND MORE TO BE DISCUSSED AT PENDLEON TENANTS MEETING

As the Grenfell Tower victims said, before the tragic fire their warnings were not listened to by the authorities. Now tenants in Spruce Court, Pendleton, who are still living with the dangerous cladding, have called an independent meeting for tomorrow, Tuesday, 17th July, to discuss cladding, security and more, while Thorn Court residents are also complaining about the same issues.

Full details here...

PETITION AND PROTEST PLANNED OVER SALFORD SCHOOL HEAD TEACHER SUSPENSION

Star date: 15th July 2018

SCHOOL PROTEST PLANNED OVER HARROP FOLD HEAD AND STAFF SUSPENSION

After Salford City Council suspended Harrop Fold School Head, Drew Povey, and three other staff members last week, supporters have launched a petition to reinstate them, while pupils and parents are planning a protest at the school this Thursday.

Full details here...

FANGIRL CELEBRATION OF SUPER-FANS COMES TO SALFORD FOR GM FRINGE

Star date: 15th July 2018

FOR THOSE WHO GO THE EXTRA MILE IN PURSUIT OF AN ICON

Fangirl by Quina Chapman
Thursday 19th and Friday 20th July
Kings Arms 7pm £6

Do you go the extra mile in pursuit of an icon? Fangirl, at the Kings Arms this Thursday and Friday, deconstructs the 'condition' through songs, rhymes and laughs. A Greater Manchester Fringe must-see, enthuses Ian Leslie.

Full details here...

THOUSANDS ATTEND TRUMP GO HOME RALLY MANCHESTER

Star date: 14th July 2018

DONALD TRUMP... 'THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS LEADER SINCE THE 1930s' 

Thousands of people packed Albert Square in Manchester last night to voice anger over US President Donald Trump's visit to the UK. Groups from every section of society that Trump has dissed were represented on stage – from Mexican dancers to an ex-US soldier, to trade unions, peace, climate change, refugee, LGBT and women's rights campaigners, plus spokespeople for youth and children. 

To kick off the evening, Manchester councillor, Pat Karney, called Trump "The most dangerous leader since the 1930s...we have to stop the ideas of Trump going across the world..."

Full details here...

TRUMP GO HOME BUS HITS SALFORD

Star date: 13th July 2018

'MANIAC' TRUMP NOT WELCOME HERE

A red open top double decker bus toured Salford this morning covered in slogans reading 'Trump Go Home'. It stopped off at Salford Precinct, Salford Royal Hospital, Langworthy Road and the Civic Centre before heading off to Manchester.

The bus was sponsored by Swinton-based Mary Monson Solicitors, and Mary Monson told the Salford Star that "the idea that he'll come and be feted like a respectable person is appalling". Meanwhile Paul Kelly, President of Salford TUC, called Donald Trump an "ultra-capitalist maniac".

Full details here...

 



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