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Work
Engels in Manchester

Frieirich Engels
Freidrich Engels, 1840s
Engels lived a double life in Manchester. By day he worked for his father’s firm of ‘capitalist exploiters’, while at night he became a social investigator. He met with other industrialists and businessmen and followed the lifestyle of his bourgeois station. Meanwhile he devoted his spare time to exploring the political scene and the lives of the Manchester working class.

He wrote for several socialist and radical papers during this period, both in England and continental Europe, on a variety of issues. For Robert Owen’s ‘The New Moral World’ and the Chartist papers, the ‘Northern Star’ and ’Democratic Review’, he wrote on the campaigns of the day such as the ten hours bill and others that were attempting to improve peoples working conditions. He highlighted the lessons that could be learnt from them. He also described the characteristics of socialism and other political developments on the continent. For the continental papers he wrote about the economic developments and the lessons that could be learnt from the class struggle taking place in England.

Soon after his arrival in Manchester he began a relationship with a young woman, named Mary Burns. She was to become his partner until her death twenty years later. It is not certain where they met, although it is widely believed that she was a probably an employee at the Engel’s and Ermine mill. It was Mary who introduced and guided him through the dwellings of the Manchester working class.

Words: Danny Crosby

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