Feature

Take a tour of Karl Marx's London

Celebrate the 200th birthday of Karl Marx and the latest book in the Pelican series, Marx and Marxism, with a tour of 10 London locations.

'Karl Marx was the Jesus Christ of the twentieth century.'

One of the most influential and controversial political thinkers in history, Marx's critique of capitalism  continues to resonate today, in the wake of the recurrent financial crises and growing social inequality.

Having lived in London from 1849 until his death in 1883, the capital city features a wealth of famous Marx hot spots: from the room where Karl Marx penned Das Kapital, to the pub where Marx and Engels first discussed The Communist Manifestoand modern-day tributes. 

Explore Marx's London below and download the map to take with you. Scroll down for more information about each location.

Explore Marx’s London

4 Anderson Street, Chelsea 

The address of Marx’s first home when he first moved to London in 1849. His fourth son, Henry, was born here on Guy Fawkes Night resulting in the nickname Guido.

The Red Lion, Great Windmill Street, Soho (now Be at One)

The Second Congress of the Communist League was held in the upstairs room of the Red Lion pub. It was at this meeting that Marx and Engels were asked to write an action programme for the Communist League. This published in Feb 1848 as the Communist Manifesto.

Spirit of Soho Mural, Broadwick Street, Soho

Created in 1991, the mural depicts St Anne presiding over local famous figures. It shows Karl Marx taking a sip of Coca Cola.

Quo Vadis, Dean Street, Soho

Formerly a brothel and a home to Karl Marx. A blue plaque adorns the frontage of the now restaurant to commemorate the time Marx spent living at 28 Dean Street in the 1850s. A ‘Marx Room’ is available to rent for private functions.

The British Museum Reading Room

One of Marx’s favourite places to write, it is here that he worked on his most celebrated book, Das Kapital. His favourite seat was G7.

The Marx Memorial Library, Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell

Founded in 1933 with the aim of advancing knowledge of Marxism and the working class movement. The building was previously home to Twentieth Century Press. William Morris was an early benefactor of the press, which published several of the earliest English editions of the works of Marx and Engels, and was office to Lenin during his exile in London.

1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park Road, Belsize Park

The address that the Marx family moved to in 1864. The entire area was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War and has since been redeveloped.

41 Maitland Park Road, Belsize Park

Just a few doors down from their previous address, the Marx family moved here in 1875, supposedly because they felt more comfortable in a smaller home. It is here that Karl Marx resided until his death in 1884.

46 Grafton Terrace, Belsize Park (formerly no. 9)

The Marx residence from October 1856-March 1864, after he left Soho. It is the most intact of all the places he has stayed in London, remaining virtually unchanged since the 1860s. During this time, Engels, who lived in Manchester, helped to subsidise Marx’s writing by giving the family £350 a year (about £35,000 today).

Highgate Cemetery (East Cemetery), Swain’s Ln, Highgate

The site where Karl Marx is buried. Other notable residents of Highgate Cemetery include authors George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Douglas Adams, as well as prominent left-wing thinkers, Paul Foot and Ralph Milliband.

More about the book

Marx and Marxism

Gregory Claeys

An illuminating history of Marx's thought and intellectual influence from a leading historian of socialism

Why was Marx so successful as a thinker? Did he have a system and if so, what does it consist of? How did Marxism develop in the twentieth century and what does it mean today?

Karl Marx remains the most influential and controversial political thinker in history. The movements associated with his name have lent hope to many victims of tyranny and aggression but have also proven disastrous in practice and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of millions. If after the collapse of the Soviet Union his reputation seemed utterly eclipsed, a new generation is reading and discovering Marx in the wake of the recurrent financial crises, growing social inequality and an increasing sense of the injustice and destructiveness of capitalism. Both his critique of capitalism and his vision of the future speak across the centuries to our times, even if the questions he poses are more difficult to answer than ever.

In this wide-ranging account, Gregory Claeys, one of Britain's leading historians of socialism, considers Marx's ideas and their development through the Russian Revolution to the present, showing why Marx and Marxism still matter today.


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