Fred Wilde was born in Hyde, near Manchester, ‘a long time ago’, as he put it. He was brought up in the shadow of the cotton mills. It was an environment in which there were few luxuries. Wireless was a novelty, a visit to ‘the pictures’ was an event, none of the neighbours owned a car and some had never seen the sea.
As a young man Fred briefly attended Hyde Art School, and later did some life drawings at Manchester Municipal Art School. But for many years his chief artistic activity was designing textiles for export to Africa.
He retired from his job early in order to devote his time to painting scenes of his childhood ‘between the wars’. His first book The Clatter of Clogs in the Early Morning (1982) became a bestseller in Lancashire, and won praise from J. B. Priestley and Roger McGough. He lived in Lydiate, Nr Liverpool.