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Rarely would, and rarely should, people take time out of their day to visit a desk. It is a personal philosophy that has been a corner stone of my existence. But there is an exception to every rule as this is no ordinary desk. The topic today is none other that the Desk of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. I challenge readers to find a desk of more significance in the history of Western Civilisation… Superlatives aside the desk should be of interest to any one in the North West of England so read on! 

Researching, debating, and writing about the poverty and social conditions of the working class

The influence of the city of Manchester is often overlooked in the broader context of the history of the left and the creation of Marxism. Because it was in this industrial city in the mid 19th century that the two founding fathers of Marxism, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, spent a great deal of their time. Researching, debating, and writing about the poverty and social conditions of the working class.

Engels arrived first and Marx followed

It was Engels who first came to Manchester in December 1842, working as a clerk at the family firm, Ermen & Engels in Weaste, a cotton thread manufacturing firm. Manchester at the time was the epicentre of textile production.

During his time in Manchester Engels made many detailed observations which ultimately lead to the publication of his influential work The Condition of the Working Class in England. Karl Marx, who lived in London at the time, was a frequent visitor to Manchester, and in the summer of 1845 he and Engels took to spending a lot of time studying together at Chetham’s Library.

The desk of Karl Marx is worth a visit if you find yourself in the North-West of England

The desk of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, upon which the two men wrote and studied, is well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area. The alcove and desk themselves have a well-used look to them, and knowing, as you now do, the significance of the library to the two men you can’t help but feel a slight sense of history whilst visiting. Opening hours are Monday to Friday: 9am to 12.30pm and 1.30 to 4.30pm, Weekends and public holidays: Closed.