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18 June 2014
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Worker's quarter
Illustration of an English worker's dwelling
Engels in Manchester

Engels arrived in Manchester in December 1842, aged 22. He was sent by his father to prepare him for business and to protect the family investment in the cotton manufacturing firm Ermen and Engels at Weaste, in Salford. His father, an orthodox religious man, thought that by sending his son into business he would rid him of his radical leanings. Engels though had other ideas. He hoped to study the social and political atmosphere of the city, at the centre of the industrial world.

Worker's quarter
Illustration of an English worker's dwelling
Engels had experienced the nature of the factory system from a young age. Every morning he walked through the polluted streets of Bremen, on his way to school. He also observed the living conditions of the city’s working class, which he described as being worse than that of animals. He was an extremely well read young man and had a highly developed talent for language. He had met with Hegelian and socialist thinkers and was already writing under a pseudonym. He also enjoyed the trappings of a man of his social station. He had a love for fencing, riding and music. He came to Manchester hoping to learn more about the social and political struggles that were taking place there.

Words: Danny Crosby

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