November 9, 2014 at 6:50 pmParticipant
As a first post it’s a good un. You get replies. Now let’s see if my reply can encourage a few more. Being born in Penn in the late sixties, you would have course, had your haircut at a salon, me, Bill and others went to the Barbers.
My first memories of the barbers was when living in Whitmore Reans, which means the late 40’s, the Barber I used was on the opposite side of the road to the Hunter Street corner between George Masons and Wimbushs the bakers. There was no being taken there by your mother and having her wait for you in those days, you went on your own. I mentioned this to a few friends who jogged my memory with, “Do you remember the smell, when he finished with the taper.” For the uninitiated the barber would run a lighted wax taper across the back of the comb as he finished off your cut. The idea was to get rid of any stray hairs sticking up. I never had this treat but in later years when I grew a beard, about 1957, and I’ve still got it, I would use the same trick with my beard after giving myself a trim. It also kept any errant nasal hairs under control.One day the whole beard caught fire, I’m sure I have moved quicker, but off hand I can’t remember when. Going back to our original Barbers although you were allowed to sit in the Barbers Chair because you were only small you where subjected to the indignity of having sit to on a plank which was placed across the chair arms, thus bringing you up to a workable height. The other memory was the pungent unguent you were anointed with prior to the final comb through. A bit like the the modern adhesive, No Nails. This made your hair so stiff you couldn’t lose your parting if you walked out into a gale. Talking of partings, that was the style. One less thing to worry about.
Moving on a few years, the mid 50’s, when a young man’s fancy turned to things other than marbles and football, the Hair Dresser you used became of some importance. Note the term Hairdresser, the Salon was a long way into the future and the Uni-Sex Salon as far away as the Mobile Phone. I started using a Hairdressers in Victoria Street, the top end, near the traffic lights, next to Parry’s the Ironmongers, opposite the Criterion, the Hairdressers I seem to remember was downstairs. I used a guy, name of Alan, for the next ten years. After a short time he moved to the Hairdressers you mentioned, Nick, behind the Tobacconists opposite side to the Art Gallery, next door to the Cafe Royal. A rather up market Bar, frequented by the students from the School of Art, all Gauloises and halves of Bitter. This would be the time Bill and I worked at the Wholesale Market. The walls at that time were covered with illustrations of Hairstyles. It was at this Tonsorial Emporium that I trod new ground with two more experiences. The first was the wet shave, the one and only time I have experienced this luxury, face buried in hot towels, soaped up and your cheeks caressed with a cut throat razor. A bit of a luxury as I was, by now I was sporting a Van Dyke. The other less than life changing experience was my introduction to Pantene, still being advertised to this day but now for the ladies. This was a hair tonic, not a conditioner, it was long before hair conditioners came about and it was presented in glass vials which the Hair Dresser had to snap the neck off to open. A wonderful marketing ploy, as we all thought this was almost medical. Heavily massaged into the scalp, this would give a strong luxuriant vibrant shining head of hair to anyone. I’d have been better off with a Bob Martins tablet and rub over with some Mansion Polish. In fact looking in the mirror now, I think it was Mansion Polish. Alan moved after a few years to a Shop in School Street, above a Carpet Shop I think. The only things to stick in the memory was The Espresso, a coffee bar in Darlington Street and His Casuals, opposite the Hairdressers . This sold good quality young men’s clothing, sort of Alfred Halls with style. Administered by Roger, a very fey young man who insisted on taking an inside trouser leg measurement even when choosing a tie. I have a feeling the Hairdressing Shop was owned by Billy Wilson, who now runs the annual Iron Man Competition. Bill will correct me if I’m wrong.
That completes my tale of “Barbers I have Known and Loved” as I moved away from Wolverhampton in 1964 to Kidderminster. Speaking to my Barber, Mark the other week, we worked it out he has been tending my locks for about 40 years. A losing battle both admit. My only regret has been that over all these years and trips to the Barber I have never been asked, “Anything for the weekend, Sir?” and been ready to reply “Yes, 20 Woodbines and two tickets for the Molineux.”
November 10, 2014 at 5:27 pmParticipant
Some memories there George! Mention of Billy Wilson brought back memories of his place in Bilston St where, to drum up more trade, he employed a young lady who would cut your hair topless! (She was topless, not your hair!) Some time later he moved to a place next to the Connaught Hotel on Tettenhall Road. His son Mitch, and daughter Tracey, both went into hair dressing and worked with him. Mitch was employed by no less than Duran Duran as their personal hair stylist. Tracey went one better and married one of them!
Being a” baby boomer”, my teenage years were the 60s and 70s. This was a time when some of us found that visiting a hairdresser was quite unnecessary. The locks got longer, the parent’s tempers shorter! Many a time I was threatened with an unscheduled haircut as I slept. Thankfully, the threat was never carried out, and the hair was allowed to flourish (for the time that I had it anyway!). These days, as George mentions, furniture polish would be more appropriate that any of the wonder products marketed by the hair trade. I still have the photos to look at wistfully, but I don’t miss the wolf-whistles – I can’t run very fast these days!
November 14, 2014 at 2:45 pmParticipant
Hi George, I too lived for a while at the bottom end of the North Road just down from the Molineux and was regularly sent to a hairdressers on Hunter Street in Whitmore Reans. I can only remember that the barber was big with dark hair and used to wear a white coat. I went there quite often until the mid to late nineties ( how very last century) before alternating betwixt David J Hough’s and the aforementioned Tobacconists. It was while going to school at West Park that I had to go past Jack Taylor’s butchers shop so you can imagine the pride I felt that he was refereeing the World Cup final back in 74.
November 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm
November 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm
Nice one Tony I like yourself have followed Billy W’s career over the years.
An interesting post from George and I am sure being a little older and having spent more years in Lost Wolverhampton than him, I can be forgiven for helping him out on the few locations he mentioned.
Although Parry’s Hardware has long gone from opposite the “Criterion” in (Lichfield) Street the Hairdressers in the mid 60’s known as the “Sportsman” is still functioning, maybe now with a different name.
I seem to recall a quality Hairstylist called Alan working amongst 5 others for Maison Haselocks opposite the Art gallery during the 1960’s, could he be the chappie George refers to as moving to Rothmans Tobacconist, next door to the Cafe Royal moving later to School Street.
The School street hairdressers was opened in the early 1960’s by Albert Williams above his newly opened Tailors shop. I believe our old freind Billy W, sharpened his scissors there for awhile. at the start.
Below the old cellar head.
November 18, 2014 at 8:59 am
So when you lived here Nick was that before or after you moved to Bushbury.
The School by the West Park was that the Municipal Grammer?.
Where in North Road are you talking about.
Have you checked the link regarding “Hair Care” I placed just above the last replies?.
Below the old cellar head.
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