Monday, 20 April 2009

The Thorncliffe Manifesto





















Whilst enjoying the mid-afternoon sunshine today in my generic Mancunian student halls of residence, I happened to notice a circular blue plaque affixed to the wall that I previously been blind to. This metallic disc read as follows, 'Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) Social philosopher and writer lived at No. 6 Thorncliffe Grove which once stood on this site.' and suddenly Whitworth Park no longer felt as crushingly uninspiring. How fickle I really am...

Anyway, to wiki I ran and discovered all sorts of interesting things about the co-author of The Communist Manifesto and editor of Das Kapital. In 1842, the 22-year-old Engels was sent to Manchester, England to work for the textile firm of Ermen and Engels in which his father was a shareholder. Engels' father thought that working at the Manchester firm might make Engels reconsider the radical leanings that he had developed in high school. During his time in Manchester, Engels took notes and personally observed the horrible working conditions of English workers. These notes and observations, along with his experience working in his father's commercial firm, formed the basis for his first book The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. I had absolutely no idea of his presence in the area and so the discovery of this plaque felt immensely significant to me. Maybe I should put a little more faith in Whitworth Park...

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