£2.5m penthouse named after communist revolutionary

Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels wrote about squalid conditions in Manchester's 19th century slums [Getty Images]

A luxury penthouse flat has apparently been named after one of history's most famous communists.

The £2.5m apartment in Deansgate, Manchester, bears the name The Engels, in an apparent reference to Friedrich Engels, who, along with Karl Marx, wrote The Manifesto Of The Communist Party.

A tenants group said it was ridiculous to name an expensive flat after a man who at one time wrote extensively about poverty and squalor in Manchester.

The developer, Renaker, has been contacted for comment.


"It is absolutely ridiculous," said Isaac Rose, of Greater Manchester Tenants' Union.

He said people in Manchester and Salford, where the German-born philosopher and writer lived at one stage of his life, suffered from a shortage of affordable accommodation.

Mr Rose added: "Engels wrote about a divided Manchester and we seem to be still there."

The Engels is in a building a short distance from where he researched his influential 1845 work The Condition Of The Working Class In England.

He had met Karl Marx in 1844, and the pair founded The Communist League.

'Inescapable irony'

While Engels wrote about poverty, he hailed from a wealthy family.

His father owned a textile mill in Barmen in Germany, and it was his father's hope that by sending him to work in the family's textile mill in Weaste, Salford, Engels would recant his radical ideals.

But what he saw in the slums of Manchester led to his work The Condition of The Working Class in England.

Dr Dean Kirby, a Manchester-based journalist and historian who researched Engels's journey through the slums of Manchester for his PhD, said Engels was "a man of contradictions"

"If he was around today he may well have enjoyed the champagne lifestyle of high rise living while writing about the deprivation still prevalent in British cities including Manchester," he said.

But, he added, there was an "inescapable irony" in naming a penthouse after a man who had said the wealthy of Manchester were "systematically shutting out of the working class" and hiding them away in "cattle sheds for human beings".

The other penthouse in the building is named The Turing, seemingly in homage to Alan Turing, the computing pioneer and Enigma machine codebreaker worked at the University of Manchester from 1948.

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