The daughter of Alfred and Ivy Makepiece, she was born on the same day as Ena Sharples. Her family was the first to inhabit 11 Coronation Street after it was built in 1902. Mary was three years old when they moved into the house.
Mary worked at Hardcastle's Mill but gave it up to serve as a conductress on the trams during the war. She was nearly raped by Eric Walsh, who got close to her by claiming to have been with her brother Ralph when he died on the Somme. Mary stabbed him with a pair of scissors to fight him off.
Mary married Thomas shortly after the war. They had three children, Alice, Harry and Frances, who died from scarlet fever as a baby. Thomas and Mary both worked at Hardcastle's Mill and so when the mill went out of business in 1931 the family was pushed into poverty. Mary got a job at the new Elliston's Raincoat Factory but, unable to find work, Thomas agreed to do a job for Freddie Malone, stealing raincoats from the factory. He was caught and arrested and sent to Strangeways for five months. When he returned, Mary had changed, the situation driving her insane. During a psychotic episode she attempted to attack son Harry with a knife, and injured her daughter Alice. She was admitted to an asylum and died there in 1947.