If you are a lover of art, craft, paper, paints or anything creative then this my dear is the place for you! I completely forgot how much I loved painting and playing with ribbons, sparkles back in my high school days till I visited this place recently! They have a massive collection (I mean massive) spread over three floors of all these amazing wonders.
I was there a few days back to get a foam-board and some paint for one of my projects and landed up spending more than half an hour just browsing through the store! The staff are very friendly and always more than happy to find things for you if you are struggling (which is quite likely because of the sheer size of the store). It is located right in the center of Stevenson Square in Northern Quarter and has a very non pretentious store front (very subtle and minimalistic).
The price was a bit on the higher range, as in more than the student union shop but I guess its worth it because of the location and quality of the things they have.
Verdict: Oh I am definitely paying many more visits and might just start a new hobby - This store has inspired me!
Based on the outskirts of the Northern Quarter, Fred Aldous is a mammoth arts and crafts store that has been inspiring and supplying local artists with materials for decades.
A true Manchester institution, the shop is spread over two floors and currently has an eye-catching window display featuring paper figures and canvases from graphic artist Chris Drury. The ground floor stocks different size canvases, paper, portfolios, postal tubes and sketch books whilst the basement is devoted to hundreds of different artists' tools and accessories from brushes, pencils, pens and oils to clay, felt, beads and craft materials. I'd buy more from there myself but jeez, some of the stock is pricey.
Handily, Fred Aldous also sell DIY card kits - which encourage you to create your own Christmas / Easter / Valentine's Day card. Whether or not the latter will help you secure your current crush depends on what you write inside!!
I wish I had a shop like Fred Aldous near me when I was a kid. I can only imagine how much money I would have spent on do-it-yourself hobby kits and pots of paints. It's an artists dream.
The shop, spread over three floors, is guaranteed to ignite your creative flame with everything you'd ever need to make a masterpiece - from canvas to crayons.
They've also got a superb selction of cool, unique gifts upstairs from the likes of Luckies, Suck UK and World Wide.
You will not leave disappointed. Or empty handed!
The main thing you need to know is that the Fred Aldous store is *way* bigger than what you can see from the street, with a cavernous basement - large enough to house an Anish Kapoor installation - filled with art and craft goodies.
Downstairs is a bit less cutesy, but all the necessaries for a wide range of art & crafts would appear to be there. If you are a newbie, I suggest going straight to the till for directions from a hip and helpful staff member as the aisles are not signposted or anything.
Art and crafts is not my field, but I walked out with the 50cm steel rule that I was looking for - 'Made in Germany', and it looked it.
I also had a random query about how to ice a gingerbread man. The salesgirl was full of helpful and well-informed suggestions, several of which bore no relation to my buying stuff from Fred Aldous. She advised against using a paintbrush, as hairs might fall off the brush onto the food; Tesco apparently sell a set of tubes of coloured icing ready to apply. Lastly, I asked for her recommendation for vegetarian food near Fred Aldous - a falafel burger at Common was her suggestion - sweet, I almost invited her along!
From my one visit, the vibe here is very approachable and about 'making things' rather than talking in tones of hushed reverence about long-dead grandmasters and how to emulate them - although they do have plenty of brushes and paints if that is your niche. Every art & craft project can benefit from 'how to' advice - what tools and materials you need and how to use them - and a bit of know-how from someone savvy at the point of sale can go a long way. And feeling at ease enough to ask those questions. Ask Fred. Fred is your friend. Fred listens. Fred knows. Fred has made one of those before.
Note: even if you're not shopping for art stuff, the window displays here are worth a look in their own right for the virtuoso and extremely funky craft creations, and they keep refreshing the display.
A born and bred Manchester company, Fred Aldous on Lever St should be your first stop for art supplies. It originated as a handcart in the late 1880s, what a start. Their selection is extensive, the staff knowledgeable and all the art students I know swear by it.
In addition to the usual staple art materials- paints, brushes, storage cases, canvases, art paper, pastels, charcoals - they also stock tools and materials for other crafts. Jewellery, interiors, flowers, working with leather and metal, needlework. You name it - Fred Aldous can not only inspire you - to start a hobby or pursue some neglected passion - but also provide you with everything you need.
One thing that I'll be doing to channel the current mood of Make Do and Mend (have you seen the mugs) is repairing all my old necklaces and bracelets or mixing and matching all the beads at the bottom of my jewellery box to try and end up with a Lanvin-like statement.
If only they could improve my drawing skills too so that my sister (who is now in art school) doesn't shriek WHAT'S THAT?
The Narnia of artistic rescources.
Unassumingly sat on an unassuming corner of unassuming Lever street I'd actually always just assumed this place was a once was that had long closed down- such is its unassuming appearence.
But as we know in Manchester, appearances are always decieving- dark doors in dark alleyways turn out to be entrances to pretty drinking dens, the Northern Quarter never ends up as good a night out as it promises to be and the hobo with the hi-tops turns out to be the owner of a rather successful graphic design company.
Taking a trip down the portal-like staircase at the back end of Fred Aldous leads you to a world of creative riches with parquet under foot and wonderous lovliness all around.
Never a natural coloured hair in site, this is the best underground bunker with pencils I've ever seen- and I've seen the all.
What I love about Fred Aldous art shop is that it's devoid of the haughtiness of more traditional art shops. You know, the deeply reserved, hushed atmosphere that makes you feel like you're in a watercolour painting yourself.
Fred Aldous is a welcoming and friendly two-floors jam packed with all the art materials you could ever need or want. Paper to stickers, pencils to paints and hundreds of other items I don't even understand, this shop is surely a mecca to Manchester artists.
Make sure you check out the cabinets upstairs where Fred Aldous display their great range of kitsch cameras. They have fish eye cameras and many others, as well as the great Diana camera, which my friend has been using recently to amazing effect.
Anyone want a mini canvas? One that's literally a couple of centimetres squared? I do. And they have them at Fred Aldous.
Great service, great shop. Great.
Fred Aldous is THE place to go in Manchester if you have any form of art project It is open and spacious. The ground floor is mainly art supplies such as canvasses, paint and brushes, and the basement is jewellery making supplies, children's crafts, clay, paper, card and the like. Simply walking around this place fills your mind with fantastic ideas, and you will probably end up buying more than you came in for!
You can also buy from the well stocked website, and the delivery service is fast, in most cases my order arrives in 24 hours.
The staff are very knowledgeable and extremely helpfull.
2007 - my friends and I like a gift from the gods can each boast a ticket to Glastonbury. All is well in the world.
We decide to make our very own flag to fly with pride in our camp - the idea is that we'll as a result be able to find our tent.
It's from Fred Aldous that we buy our materials - mainly from the cavernous underbelly which, at that point, represented the entirety of the shop. I understand the upstairs with its rows of notebooks and easels (for whatever reason inducing the "uncanny valley" effect in me) to be a recent addition.
We buy a length of fabric, some paintbrushes, some fabric felt-tips, paint in three different colours - one of which glows in the dark - and we're not set back by too much. Overall, impressed.
We get home and go about designing our flag. We have a corner each. My girlfriend, the minx, draws a frolicking naked woman and a little squirrel looking up at her - the filthy letch. My other friend draws a tent, lists and illustrates all that you might encounter at the festival and pens some idealistic Decemberists lyrics ("hear all the bombs fade away").
Because I'm an arse, I drew some clouds, a big tree (underneath which I penned a botched Magritte reference - "ceci n'est pas un aboir"), a man with a hat for a head, a salmon of knowledge and a colourful plume of smoke representing lysergic wonder.
In the middle we wrote a huge "glastonbury" which would subsequently glow in the dark. Very cool.
We didn't take the flag, in the end. We realised that it was too beautiful to expose to all the rain and the mud - and it was the wettest on record, I believe - in terms of perpetuality - and, besides, it might've been stolen.
But when we moved in together it took up pride of place in our living room.
It's easy to forget when ambling through shops such as this that incredible beauty will invariably spring from their wares.
Whether you're painting a masterpiece or doing cack-handed paper crafts, Fred Aldous is the place for you. Here you can pick up everything you need.
I have never been good at art. I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler, so asking me to paint was never great. Though I still maintain that at school I made a discovery; no matter how carefully you mix your colours, you will always, ALWAYS end up with brown. Even if you're going for lilac. You'll end up with brown and then you'll cry. So, as it goes, I am not a big fan of painting. However, the paint section in Fred Aldous is truly lovely. All the jewel-bright tubes of acrylics and oils, next to the tiny paper-wrapped little slabs of watercolours, sitting next to fine-bristled paintbrushes with wooden handles. It makes me feel all warm inside, like Brideshead.
The other craft materials are varied in price and 'level' so that the most rank amateur will not end up paying too much for something that will only end up in the bin. That's one thing about Fred Aldous; the prices are reasonable to a fault.
One thing to look out for is the fabulous special offers here. The canvasses are often on BOGOFs, and you can almost always pick up crafting paper for knock-down prices if you come after a holiday such as Christmas or Easter.
Fred Aldous is 125 years old. Holy cow, that is old for a shop selling sticky things, pretty paper and different shaped sparkly things.
For all your arts, crafts, design material needs, Fred delivers. I never knew things like these existed. I was sent here on a errand to buy foam board of a certain size, colour and some other sticky things. The staff here were so helpful as I really didn't have a clue.
With 25,000 different items, the two floor store is brimming of creativity. I was inspired to get all art attack. Candle making, metal work, leather work and plain old painting. What can't you get from Fred?
From art galleries to that which makes it all possible - art supplies. I might not be a painter, sketcher or sculptor myself but having grown up with a brother who took art at university and a father who scrawled pictures for me regularly (one of which became a tattoo of mine, bonus fact for you there) I have many times been led through art stores in my life. Whether you're a photographer, a glass blower, a straightforward drawer or even just engage in home crafts from time to time, you'll be spoilt for choice at Fred Aldous.
The staff are friendly and you won't instantly feel like you don't belong if you haven't got a goatee or don't know the date of Salvador Dali's death. It's a trick question, it's something to do with when he stopped being good apparently. Tut, these artists.
Anyway even if art is as unfamiliar to you as a cat that wears suspender braces and can recite all fifty American states, it's still worth going in there for unusual gift ideas. Building and origami kits will satisfy the most curious and prematurely intelligent of child; sewing boxes are fantastic even as decorative items . Add unusual laser cut mirrors and a bunch of cards and giftwrap and you're onto a winner.
Snowy, dreary Manchester. Do I want to go shopping amongst the crowds? Do I want to go the cinema alone? Or do I want to go to Fred Aldous and take a course on decoupage jewellery? I'll go for the latter thank you.
This jewellery course was a present for my last birthday from my mumma, probably in an attempt to make me even half as crafty as she is, and I was initially reluctant (read terrified) when I woke up this morning and realised that I am quite uncrafty, probably due to unresolved issues with my GCSE textiles teacher, but that's a different story altogether. Walking into Fred Aldous it was quite empty upstairs and, although I knew-ish where I was going downstairs, I asked a member of staff who was very friendly and pointed me in the right direction to the Ministry of Craft; down the red stairs and to the end of the room, past hireable studios and more professional looking items for purchase.
The reception space for Ministry of Craft is a crafters paradise and you're basically guaranteed to walk away signed up to another class - they have everything, from conquering your sewing machine to sewing your own knickers! After grabbing a cup of tea I was pointed in the direction of the first classroom and introduced to the class tutor, Sam. We all got stuck right in, directed at all turns but also allowed to let our own imaginations set free. Although she had examples out and advised us what were the 'easy' materials to use, she encouraged us to do our own thing and really consider what we would want to wear. I've come away with a leopard print pendant, a floral bangle, a brooch that may or may not be heading my mumma's way as a thank you gift, AND a pendant to take home and use for decoupage in the future. Sam explained that we got the choice of taking a pendant or brooch home because they had received the wrong size bangle and pricing didn't work out, but it would be a nice addition to any future classes.
Four stars for Freddy boy but the extra star for the Ministry of Craft.
Fred Aldous is perhaps the best art shop in Manchester. It stocks everything from origami paper to clay cutters and everything in between. There is a great selection of materials in the form of paints, dyes, papers, fabrics, pencils, sketch pads, canvasses, thread, wool and glues as well as tools such as brushes, needles, knives, scissors, nibs and templates.
The staff are really helpful and can find any peculiar item you might ask for in a jiffy. Anything they don't stock they will consider ordering in or will guide you to a supplier direct. They have great sales where you can pick up stock in bulk and find odd items you never knew you needed but can't live without.
Fred Aldous also has a fantastic website where you can order and reserve stock online, and there is a great next-day delivery service if you can't make it into the shop itself.
Can't really add anything to the other reviews other than, if you go to their website, you can order a free catalogue if you live elsewhere. Cheaper by far than Hobbycraft and obscure things here like cane for basket making and leather skins etc. Enamelling kiln and equipment, jewellery findings and absolutely everything for making soft toys.
Great habadashery and art shop in the northern quarter, recently added a bit upstairs so the layout is a bit less crammed down in the basement, there's something for every craft imaginable! And the staff are very helpful too.
Fred Aldous is an arts and crafts shop on Lever Street in Manchester. It is open and spacious, and houses everything for the arty-crafty type. I buy a lot of my jewellery making supplies from here as I find them to be excellent quality and value. The ground floor is mainly art supplies such as canvasses, paint and brushes, and the basement is jewellery making supplies, children's crafts, clay, paper, card and the like. The staff are very helpful and pleasant. The shop is well laid out and spacious, and they always have plenty of stock.
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