A visit to Fred Aldous

Earlier this month I went to Fred Aldous, an art/craft/stationery store in Manchester that has bee around for more than 100 years.

Fred Aldous entrance


Visiting this store is a great step up from visiting the usual chain stationery shops that all tend to offer the same items. Instead of finding what you can find everywhere you’ll find items that are usually only available in online shops or from abroad.

Ground floor
Ground floor

On the ground floor you will find imported, novelty and quirky stationery. This includes Field Notes, the first time I’ve seen them in a brick and mortar shop.

Field Notes at Fred Aldous
Field Notes

Less of a rarity: Rhodia …but I have never seen so much choice in one shop.

Rhodia at Fred Aldous
I was also able to stock up on Leuchtturm loops and saw pencils ‘live’ that I had to mail order in the past, like the Perfetto pencils mentioned previously.


ParkingThe basement did remind me of a Hobby Craft store (an arts and craft chain in the UK). Lots of pencils, inks, etc, but of the less exotic kind. It’s still exciting to see so much choice in one place.


Parking isn’t easy in the centre of Manchester, but one of the side streets just next to Fred Aldous didn’t have double yellow lines all the way through, so I was able to park free of charge in a convenient location.

I also managed to buy a few exciting items.

Items bought from Fred Aldous

You can find review of the Field Notes Shelterwood at The Writing Arsenal and at The Gentleman Stationer. The Field Notes I bought is the Cherry Graph, which is nearly identical.

Explosive Ltd, the company behind the Blacking Limited Edition video and running the Wood & Graphite blog, has a video review of the Cedar Pointe, bought in the same store.

5 thoughts on “A visit to Fred Aldous”

  1. Wow! This is stationery heaven 🙂 Did you leave the store voluntarily or did they have to push you out at closing time? 😉 The green penil tin looks very nice – I especially like the typography. How is the quality of the pencils?

  2. This is quite local to me, and I’ve spent a few happy lunchtimes browsing – I’ve not seen those pencil tins though – must keep an eye out next time I’m there!

    I don’t know whether you ever find your way to Stoke, but Webberley’s is a lovely stationers/art shop, with a book shop on the bottom floor.

  3. I think you must be based around the Lancashire area from some of your comments. If you get up to Kendal look in at Iridium. They have Field Notes, Rhodia and a great range of pens and pencils. In fact, fantastic for an independent shop. And, no, I’m not affiliated with them.

  4. I second Gunther’s “Wow!”

    I was in Manchester, though only briefly, several years ago but had no notion of this store. On average, do you find that the prices are reasonable?

  5. Thank you for your comments.

    Gunther, unfortunately I couldn’t stay long – our little one was hungry and needed seeing to. Unfortunately I didn’t get round trying the pencils out, yet.

    John, the pencil tins were quite reasonably priced: £3.97 for a tin with 6 pencils. Stoke is a bit far away, but if I ever make it there I’ll try to remember look for the shop you mentioned.

    Martin, I’m in Walton-Le-Dale. I do happen to go to Kendal every few years or so, usually for touristy Lake District kind of stuff. Oh, you and John make me sad there’s nothing like this in Preston.

    Sean, prices were quite reasonable. especially the non novelty stuff. The General’s pencils were only £3.27. I guess in the USA they wouldn’t even be much cheaper.

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