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A reminder of early Victorian Manchester

May 11, 2009

The whole assemblage of buildings is commonly called Manchester, and contains about four hundred thousand inhabitants, rather more than less. The town itself is peculiarly built, so that a person may live in it for years, and go in and out daily without coming into contact with a working-people’s quarter or even with workers, that is, so long as he confides himself to his business or to pleasure walks. This arises chiefly from the fact, that by unconscious tacit agreement, as well as with out-spoken conscious determination, the working-people’s quarters are sharply separated from the sections of the city reserved for the middle-class; or, if this does not succeed, they are concealed with the cloak of charity.

The above is one of the classic quotes from Freidrichp4_lead Engels’ condition of the Working Class in England written whilst the son of German industrialists was banished to Manchester by his familty in 1844.

The book became an inspiration for Karl Marx and Engels to write the Communist manifesto which was to have a profound effect on the history of the 20th Century.

Most of the Manchester that Engels described has long since gone.

The book that was only published in English in 1887 is out soon in a new edition as a Penguin Classic.

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