Photo gallery: Barber wants to find out the long and the short of his shop’s roots
09:15 14 May 2014
From the short-back-and-sides to the mop top, and the mullet to the poodle perm: the styles may have changed over the years, but one barber shop in Wymondham has been cutting them all.
A salon has reached the remarkable milestone of completing around a century in business and to mark the achievement, James Thatcher, who now runs the business, is appealing for pictures and information, as part of a project to trace its roots.
The hairdressers is now known as Kutz Rebellion – in tribute to the town’s link to Kett’s Rebellion, the 16th-century uprising which began there – but it has had several guises over the years. It has primarily been a men’s hairdressers, although now has some women clients.
Mr Thatcher, who lives on High Banks in the town, took over the Middleton Street building nine years ago. He started his research after being alerted to the business’s long heritage.
“I had a guy who came down from Yorkshire and he came in here and said, ‘I am glad to see you are still going’,” Mr Thatcher added. “He said that he used to come in here in 1933 for a haircut.
“Over the years people would say they used to come in here in the 70s and 80s, and then it was the 50s and 60s. Another guy came in and said he was here during the war and used to work in a business nearby.
“People were saying when they came in they had to go home because there were bombs coming down.”
The building – which dates back to the 17th century – was registered as a hairdressers in 1922, according to Census data from the time. But Mr Thatcher believes its origins go back further.
“It all started off with a guy called James Underwood,” Mr Thatcher said.
“He would sell tobacco, but when filtered cigarettes came out, the tobacco industry died. I think he was trying to do something different. I think he’d started by 1922, though.
“I think he started doing it around the turn of the First World War.”
Mr Thatcher said that, with competition from other barbers in the town growing, he wanted to make sure the building’s history was preserved.
“I just want photographs of how it was. There’s so much of this shop it is important to keep before it disappears. I’m just a small part of its history,” he said.
Men’s hairstyles of a century ago tended to be more conservative and uniform than they are now – thanks, in large part, to the fact they were more often concealed beneath hats.
Many opted for a short-back-and-sides, with longer hair on top kept in place with products such as Brylcreem, which was launched in the 1920s. The product – and the hairstyle – has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, particularly after it was endorsed by former England football captain David Beckham. Click the gallery to view the list.
If you have any information or memories of the shop, contact Mr Thatcher on 01953 603909.
Do you have a story about a business near you with an interesting history? Contact Lauren Cope on firstname.lastname@example.org