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: WORKPLACE PARKING LEVY ONE OF THE OPTIONS AS GREATER MANCHESTER CONSIDERS CLEAN AIR ZONES
What a load of rubbish,there is more pollution from industry tha traffic as we have been told more than once. This is just around ... [more]
article: WORKPLACE PARKING LEVY ONE OF THE OPTIONS AS GREATER MANCHESTER CONSIDERS CLEAN AIR ZONES
XXXX ME!!!!! How come Rossi's idol missed that one. Ten quid a day each car. Thats 3 quid more than the gangsters charge at the m... [more]
article: CHINESE TO TAKE OVER AJ BELL STADIUM AND LAND, WHILE INVESTING IN BUILE HILL MANSION SALFORD PUBLIC MEETING HEARS
Good to see the iron lady back. While were on about our Chinese saviors why dont we give one of our saviors of the past a ring ,Sh... [more]
article: CHINESE TO TAKE OVER AJ BELL STADIUM AND LAND, WHILE INVESTING IN BUILE HILL MANSION SALFORD PUBLIC MEETING HEARS
You know the idea of the Chinese taking over the rugby club may not be as far fetched as it seems. Could it be that the Chinese ar... [more]
article: CHINESE TO TAKE OVER AJ BELL STADIUM AND LAND, WHILE INVESTING IN BUILE HILL MANSION SALFORD PUBLIC MEETING HEARS
Well they will have a bloody fighting on their hands if they think they will get the Mansion. Would make a nice Casino,I dont thin... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

WORKPLACE PARKING LEVY ONE OF THE OPTIONS AS GREATER MANCHESTER CONSIDERS CLEAN AIR ZONES

Star date: 16th August 2018

GMCA TRIES TO AVOID VEHICLE CHARGES FOR CLEAN AIR ZONES

Today, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is meeting to discuss options for reducing air pollution in the region. The Government has identified charge based Clean Air Zones as the benchmark, and unless the GMCA can come up with an alternative plan to reduce emissions quickly, charging polluting vehicles will be on the cards. A 'workplace parking levy' is one of the options.

Full details here...

CHINESE TO TAKE OVER AJ BELL STADIUM AND LAND, WHILE INVESTING IN BUILE HILL MANSION SALFORD PUBLIC MEETING HEARS

Star date: 15th August 2018 

BUILE HILL MANSION SUPPORT GROUP MEETING HEARS OF 'CHINESE' PLANS FOR SALFORD

Over the last few months, rumours of a Chinese buyout of the AJ Bell Stadium and its land, hand outs for the Buile Hill Mansion and a possible plan for a Salford Red Devils takeover have been louder than bombs. At last night's meeting of the Buile Hill Mansion Support Group, these plans were aired in public for the first time.

Full details here...

DISTRAUGHT SALFORD DAUGHTER CAN’T GET TO FAMILY GRAVE AT ST PAUL’S CHURCH IN KERSAL

Star date: 14th August 2018

A TALE OF TWO CUSSONS, HIGH BRAMBLES AND IMPERIAL LEATHER

At the front of St Paul's Churchyard in Kersal, the first neat and tidy grave you come across is that of Alexander Cussons and famous family. However the grave of the less famous William Evans, who produced the first ever bar of Imperial Leather soap, is at the very back of the yard and totally inaccessible, literally buried beneath 6ft high weeds and brambles.

William Evans' great granddaughter, Lesley Northall, is distraught as she wants to add her mother's ashes to the site but can't get near it. This isn't just the tale of two Cussons gurus but also of a church struggling for resources.

Full details here...

SALFORD ROAD CHAOS LOOMS FOR A YEAR

Star date: 13th August 2018

JOURNEY TIMES TO DOUBLE AS £15MILLION 'IMPROVEMENT SCHEME' BEGINS

On 29th August, the £15million Manchester and Salford Inner Relief Route improvement scheme begins which is set to last a year and double journey times around Regent Road, from Oldfield Road to the Mancunian Way, which will see roads reduced to one lane in places.

The work is expected to have knock-on delays to other routes including around the M602, East Lancs Road and Trinity Way.

Full details here...

SALFORD CRESCENT MASTERPLANNERS CONFIRM DEMOLITION OF OLD POLICE HQ

Star date: 12th August 2018

POLICE HQ ON THE CRESCENT TO BE DEMOLISHED

The imposing old Salford Police headquarters on the Crescent is to be demolished, as confirmed by the Salford City Council and Salford University masterplanners at yesterday's consultation on the future of the area.

Local people at the consultation didn't seem happy about the amount of high rise buildings in the plans, and nothing was said about any affordable housing.

Full details here...

 



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