Fred and Grace’s was one of the shops I wanted to do from the start of this project. It’s probably a bit odd for a woman with no children to immediately know this shop, but what can I say, every time I walk past it I can’t help but do a head “awww” at the tiny little clothes in the window.
I popped into the shop a few weeks ago to meet with the owner, Mrs Holkham, who told me a bit of the potted history of the shop. It’s been in the Morgan Arcade for around seven years after it was previously a concession in the now defunct David Morgan department store.
It’s named after the Holkham’s two grown-up-children. She told me she was a little worried they’d find it cheesy to have the shop named after them, but luckily they liked it. Several members of the family have worked in the shop at various points in its life, while Mrs Holkham grew up in the area and comes from a family of shopkeepers. Her father was a grocer in the market that used to occupy the space Central Library can now be found, while her mother worked in an interiors shop in the Wyndham Arcade.
The clothes inside Fred and Grace’s aren’t exactly the average children’s clothing, this is designer wear, mainly for special occasions and for grandparents’ to spoil new additions to the family. I loved the little coats, jumpers and the oh-so-cute shoes. The range only goes up to around 10 years old, after which, apparently most girls decide they want to be slightly less girly… at least for a little while (probably when you hit late teens and it all starts again by my reckoning…)
As for the shop itself, walking past you’ll notice the beautiful windows, which are an original feature of the shop and are listed, along with the rest of the arcade. Looking at the arcade windows is one of my favourite things to do, especially comparing the stained glass and leading between the different arcades. Take a look up the next time you’re walking through and have a look out for what you can spot.
We got to chatting about arcade history as Mrs Holkham has been here such a long time, and she told me she’s heard rumours of a ghostly policeman wandering the arcades at night – spooky. She also mentioned different inaccessible rooms that can be found beneath the shop, a legacy from when the area was very different. I can’t decide whether I’d love to go on a tour of the hidden aspects of the arcades or it would terrify me…
Anyway, before going off on too much of a different tangent, I’ll leave you with the pictures. As usual, any comments, thoughts or observations most welcome in the comments box below.