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"Why" And Albert...?

The Founder and CEO, David A. Murden, tries to answer!

The And Albert Shop in Beverley 198820 years ago I was a Clinical Psychologist working for the Area Authority and in process of voluntarily converting a suite of dilapidated old buildings, just yards from the main door of the beautiful Beverley Minster, into a "Walk in" therapy Centre. The NHS programme fell through, leaving me "holding the baby". A brain-wave later turned all 7000 sq.ft. of buildings into a Victorian theme Arts and Crafts Arcade to givea home to any crafts person or small start up businesses.

In the first year alone 1987/88, 23 businesses were born, but not before we’d put "Victoria" on a Pub sign and called the Arcade"…and Albert" with everybody’s more important name coming in front! Very "cooperative", I tried to run as such! So the idea was partly socialist ideals coupled with an "Albertarian" pioneering Victorian spirit. Maybe what we still need!

By ’91 the concept and my own overseas crafts retail unit within it was highly successful and reproducible. Via York and Lincoln, this became 9 very well known "fair-trade" shops, with my overall ambition of having a successful retail chain of fair-trade shops relying on its own imports and overseas workshops. Trying for the necessary investment for this from Banks to adventure capitalists and even a part successful float as a Plc in 97/98, in the end failed to raise the necessary funding. Personal Bankruptcy, and several forms of "take-over" later, left only the Foundation intact as a registered Charity with the vision, the overseas workshops, and David Bellamy’s support still believing in it! So keep going against all odds I did and on an even more shoe-string budget! This confirmed and consolidated all our work and even expanded our "Trading Roots" fair-trade goods into a functioning wholesale Project.

And Albert founder and CEO, David MurdenTo lose everything one had worked for through all those years of hardship and doubt was a tragedy and hard to live through, but our present survival is due to those folk who through many years did invest, did help on low salaries, and even lost shares and jobs. What is now left and really beginning to work is a testimony to them also. THANK YOU and please keep in touch!

As I write this, several "old" And Albert colleagues who themselves have tried to carry on parts of the ethical trading process have communicated and are in the process of using their own expertise and new business to facilitate the Foundation's concept of cooperation in freedom and individuality. This will lead to the foundation of a virtual COOPERATIVE of partners who will mutually benefit themselves and the overseas producers we are still working for.