OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
It’s been said that there are few certainties in life other than taxes and death, but I think haircuts need to be added; we all need one at some time or another. Back in the 1950 ‘s my first haircut was at George Hutchings, 34a Market place; an alleyway next to Barclays Bank. George Hutchings set up there about 1945 and was there until he retired in 1979. He performed thousands of haircuts during his career including Rudyard Kipling’s in the 1930’ who was a guest of Earl Bathurst.
I sat in Mr Hutchings padded leather barber chair many times; accompanied by mother to superintendent the amount cut off and kept from fidgeting by the threat of having my ear cut off (and being shown a bloodied plastic ear to prove it ). As I got older I went instead to “Dickie Sharps” in Queen Street Watermoor; where Dickie would frighten me with his menacing electrical clippers. Eventually the Barber’s became less of a place of terror and more a place of curiosity: Jars of “Hair Oil”, “Hair Tonic”, and “Pomade”, and strange but evocative smelling white slime in a pot labelled “Brylcreem”. I could only speculate that they were all things that Men needed and that to be a man; some day I would need them too.
But the real mystery were the Men who entered every now and then to interrupt the haircuts. Mr Hutchings would stop cutting hair and fetch something for them from a small cabinet in the side room. It was on one of these occasions that I first heard the phrase “Something for the Weekend Sir?” The true meaning of which didn’t become known to me until much later. I think at the time, I must have told myself that it was something to do with razor blades that could only be used on Saturdays or Sundays.
Photos - Mr Hutchings Barber shop entrance
Cirencester House - hedge trimmer 1974
Dick Sharp the Ciren barber 1976