Statements of support for the project of commemorating Engels in Eastbourne with a new plaque, and supporting organisations so far
Friedrich Engels is often associated with Manchester and Salford, where he lived and worked for twenty miserable years. He has a blue plaque on a London house, off limits to the public, where he lived for just a short time in his death throes. The bright spots in his life were the south coast resorts, of which Eastbourne was clearly his favourite. He made repeated visits in his later years, taking friends and the Marxes – his ‘family of choice’ – on happy and stylish holidays. With a suitable marker, the link between Engels and Eastbourne works both ways: a new angle on distinguished seaside visitors, and a fresh look at a fascinating character.
Professor Terrell Carver, author of Engels Before Marx, and The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels, 30th anniversary edition, both published by Palgrave in 2020 for the bicentenary of Engels’s birth.
Friedrich Engels was one of the giants of socialism. He wrote prolifically, developing socialist theories and ideas, often alongside his lifelong friend and comrade Karl Marx. He was also an activist, always engaged in the struggle, a great enthusiast for a range of issues from workers’ strikes to Irish independence and supporting the North in the US civil war. Two hundred years from his birth we are still fighting against the inequalities and injustices produced by the class society which Engels dedicated his life to overthrowing. Our homage to him should be to continue that fight today.
Lindsey German, Convenor of the Stop the War Coalition
I am delighted to support the campaign for a plaque in honour of Friedrich Engels to commemorate his bicentenary. Eastbourne was a place of great happiness, delight, and relaxation for Engels and where he chose to have his ashes scattered. A plaque would be a lovely, lasting symbol of his great, personal connection to the resort.
Dr Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and author of The Frock-Coated Communist
Engels grew up in the Rhineland but spent much of his life in Britain. He enjoyed spending time in Eastbourne and his ashes were spread in the sea off Beachy Head. As well as working with Karl Marx, he contributed a huge amount to working class struggles in Britain. Engels documented the conditions in which 19th century workers lived, supported the Chartist struggle for the right to vote and addressed some of the rallies of the early labour movement. He deserves to be recognised as an important figure in the history of Eastbourne.
Dr Camilla Royle, author of A Rebel’s Guide to Engels
Eastbourne was always special to Friedrich Engels, so special that he had his ashes scattered off Beachy Head in 1895. The author of The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) and of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State and co-author of The Communist Manifesto (1848) deserves to be remembered in the town.
Professor John Newsinger
Eastbourne Trades Council
Eastbourne People’s Assembly
Eastbourne Labour Party
Sussex Coast Unite Community Branch
TUC, South Eastern region
Hastings and District Trades Council
University of Brighton UCU
University of Brighton UNISON
The Socialist History Society
London Socialist Historians Group
For news and updates on the local campaign for a plaque to honour ‘Engels in Eastbourne can be contacted on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EBEngels/ or please email firstname.lastname@example.org