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
Cornerstone ad new
Salford Star T-shirt ad
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
Salford Star photo stories
Mary Burns Publishing
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD COUNCIL ADMITS HOUSING WAITING LIST APPLICANTS HAVE NO CHANCE OF BEING RE-HOUSED
No wonder Labour lost the last two elections. They've been running Salford for generations and are useless they should be able to ... [more]
article: HONEST COFFEE ARRIVES IN SALFORD
In response to Lou_Match Quick answer is, Home of Honest Coffee CIC is registerd on chapel street, we have created 8 full and p... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL ADMITS HOUSING WAITING LIST APPLICANTS HAVE NO CHANCE OF BEING RE-HOUSED
Ben, sorry to hear you moved away from Salford to find a family fit home. Please all, do not blame those that need homes coming he... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL ADMITS HOUSING WAITING LIST APPLICANTS HAVE NO CHANCE OF BEING RE-HOUSED
This was the reason I moved my family out of Salford. I lived in a Salix flat for 12 years along the way I got married and had a ... [more]
article: WALKDEN HILL TOP MOSS SELL OFF SALFORD FAMILY PROTEST
More open spare lost when will the councils realise that once land is built on it lost for ever I came across this underhandednes... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD DEPRIVATION REVEALED IN AGMA REPORT

Star date: 3rd September 2015 

UNHEALTHY, DEPRIVED SALFORD LAID BARE IN GREATER MANCHESTER STATISTICS

AGMA, or the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, has just finished consulting on a `scoping' report for what it calls an `Integrated Assessment of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework' - which is the first step in allowing a Greater Manchester Mayor power over planning for housing and employment land.

The consultation was accompanied by a 181 page document which shows the shocking state of Salford, compared to other areas in Greater Manchester...in poverty, health, employment and pollution.

Full details here...

THE WILLOWS SALFORD REDS GROUND GETS £2.75MILLION PUBLIC MONEY FOR REDEVELOPMENT

Star date: 2nd September 2015

PLANS FOR OVER 100 PROPERTIES ON CONTROVERSIAL SITE AT THE WILLOWS

The Willows, former home of Salford City Reds and site of one of the most controversial land deals in the city, is to be redeveloped for 82 houses and 21 flats by City West Housing and Watson Homes with a grant of £2.75million public money.

However, the secrecy and controversy continues over a land deal between Salford City Council, Godliman Watson Homes and John Wilkinson that led to a £1million loan to Salford City Reds, that even the Council's legal adviser noted was full of "creative financial manoeuvres".

Full details here...

SALFORD COUNCIL ADMITS HOUSING WAITING LIST APPLICANTS HAVE NO CHANCE OF BEING RE-HOUSED

Star date: 1st September 2015

SALFORD HOUSING LIST TO BE SLASHED BY HALF UNDER NEW POLICY

Salford Council is aiming to kick around 7,000 people off its housing waiting list under a new allocations policy which will also see children housed in towerblocks and penalties for refusing available properties.

The Council admits in a report that, due to the lack of social housing, "most applicants have little chance of ever being re-housed".

Full details here...

HONEST COFFEE ARRIVES IN SALFORD

Star date: 31st August 2015

HONEST COFFEE PUTS PROFITS BACK IN COMMUNITY

The latest cafe to open in Salford is Honest Coffee at 77 Chapel Street, part community space, part protest against Starbucks and part top coffee shop. Boasting free `weapons grade' internet, hyper local food and Salford art on the walls, Honest Coffee has been founded with 155 Kickstarter backers and its profits are to be re-distributed to good causes within the community.

Full details here...

MIGRANT LIVES MATTER RALLY IN PICCADILY GARDENS

Star date: 31st August 2015

HOMELESS AND DISRESPECTED

#MigrantLivesMatter Speak Out
Saturday 12th September 1.30pm
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

"Whether you are homeless in Manchester, Calais or Kos you have a right to be treated with dignity and respect" Ameen Hadi, Salford City UNISON

The similarities between the people who have set up homeless camps in Manchester and those seeking safe lives escaping war zones are becoming more focused as Manchester Council applies to commit homeless people to prison and David Cameron uses the word 'swarm' to describe homeless migrants at Calais. Now a #MigrantLivesMatter Speak Out rally is to be held at Piccadilly Gardens on 12th September.

Full details here...

 



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