Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Engels in Manchester

Friedrich Engels lived in Manchester from December 1842 until 1844. He had been sent by his parents to work at the Ermen and Engels, Victoria Mill in Weaste. His father hoped that the experience would make him re-consider his radical views.

Whilst in Manchester, Engels visited some of the most deprived districts and wrote extensively of the working and living conditions that he observed.

"Such is the old town of Manchester...instead of being exaggerated, it is far from black enough to convey the impression of the filth, ruin and uninhabitableness, the defiance of all considerations of cleanliness, ventilation and health which characterize the construction of this single district, containing at twenty to thirty thousand inhabitants. And such a district exists in the heart of the second city of England, the first manufacturing city of the world. If anyone wished to see in how little space a human being can move, how little air - and such air! - he can breathe, how little of civilization he may share and yet live, it is only necessary to travel hither" (Friedrich Engels 1845, The Condition of the Working Class in England, p86)

Engels again visited Manchester in the summer of 1845 in the company of Karl Marx and was to return to live in the city between 1850 and 1870. He again worked for his father's firm earning £100 per annum and 10% of the profits. On his father's death, he inherited the sum of £10000 and 20% of the firm's profits.  Ironic that he benefited so much from the capitalism that he so opposed.

Marx visited Engels in Manchester on a number of occasions and received considerable financial support from his friend.


  1. I did not know that and am both educated and fascinated....love this blog as per always!

  2. Well despite knowing he lived here I had never gone looking for him but there he was on Great Ducie Street in 1851 and Oxford Street a decade later, sadly not found any images of the properties.