Second hand, and more especially vintage, shopping may have seen a somewhat feverish wave of popularity in recent years. Yet the simple pleasure of searching out, rediscovering and breathing new life into forgotten objects of the past has an enduring appeal. It’s as much about the hunt as the find; the tranquil Sunday afternoons spent in the dusty depths of out-of-the-way shops and charity stores, and the eccentric characters you often meet along the way. Not to mention the lingering sense of the previous lives through which each item has passed. Of course, once you’ve found a gem, it’s often best kept secret, but we thought we’d share a couple of our favourites.
Here are our picks
Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now
Thirty years young in 2018, Oldham Street mainstay Vinyl Exchange has been a must-visit for second-hand record collectors since before the Northern Quarter was a thing. But while it does still offer an overwhelming array of pre-owned vinyl and CD’s (including rarities and box sets), it also now offers new releases, as well as a huge selection of DVD’s, both in store and online. Add to this its buy-or-trade service for your unwanted items, and it’s easy to see why Vinyl Exchange is such a treasured spot on the musical map of Manchester.
Stockport Covered Market Hall, Market Place, Stockport, Greater Manchester, SK1 1ES - Visit now
On the second Sunday of every month, Stockport’s Victorian market hall becomes Vintage Village. Some 70 traders set up stall and sell everything from vintage fashions and furs to retro homewares, small antiques, collectibles, old prints and Victorian postcards.
20th Century Stores in Stockport, 26-27 Market Place, Stockport, SK1 1EZ - Visit now
Less than ten meters from Stockport Covered Market Hall stands 20th Century Stores; a love note to the very best of (chiefly) 1920s through to 1980s design. Its family of specialist independent traders have been carefully selected based on the tenets of quality and authenticity. If modernist walnut coffee tables are your thing, you’ll like it here.
RSPCA Charity Shop Oak Street, 15 Oak Street, Manchester, M4 5JD - Visit now
Manchester’s Northern Quarter may be brimming with second-hand delights, but the RSPCA Charity Shop on Oak Street is a must. Adopting a boutique-style approach, it offers a tastefully curated selection of retro clothing, jewellery, books, homeware and more. (Look out for undetected, designer-label finds!)
Levenshulme Antiques Village, 965 Stockport Rd, Manchester, M19 3NP - Visit now
Opposite the unbeatable Trove Café, Levenshulme Antiques Village is a regional stalwart for unique and often rare antiques, pre-war and vintage furniture, fireplaces and collectables. Spanning several floors, with rooms dedicated to different periods, it’s easy to feel you’ve stepped into another time zone upon entering. Make sure you have at least a couple of hours spare to do this rather remarkable, Cash in the Attic style Aladdin’s Cave justice.
Paramount Books, 25-27 Shudehill, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 2AF - Visit now
Paramount Books is easily Manchester’s best bookshop, stocking a massive and eclectic range of second hand titles – everything from obscure nineteenth-century tomes to last month’s science fiction. Its antiquated literary atmosphere is beautifully sound-tracked by old jazz sounds.
Insitu Manchester, 252 Chester Road, Hulme, Manchester, M15 4EX - Visit now
Got an old house to refurbish? Then InSitu architectural salvage is a dream come true – particularly if your dream involves old cinema seating and lighting, huge trough-like washing basins, church pews, school desks, restored and powder-coated freestanding radiators and more.
Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW - Visit now
An ‘indie emporium of eclecticism’, Afflecks Palace is a true Manchester legend. Housed in a former department store in the heart of the Northern Quarter, expect to get well-and-truly lost in its endless warren of vintage and fashion stalls, selling everything from military garb and goth-ware to tea dresses.