“I had clients who had been with me for 40 years” - Edgefield hairdresser John Hardiment retires after 55-year career
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
When he set up shop in Earlham, near Norwich, it was four shillings and six pence for a haircut.
Salons were filled with a cloud of cigarette smoke, hairspray fumes and steam, and the 'Purdey' and 'Millicent Martin' were the most sought-after styles.
But while prices have changed and technology has moved on, John Hardiment proudly maintained his traditional style of hairdressing for five decades until his retirement this week.
After 23 years in his own salon, and almost as many years after as a mobile hairdresser, the grandfather-of-five has finally hung up his scissors and put down his rollers.
'I will miss it,' he said. 'I have devoted my life to hairdressing.'
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Mr Hardiment, 70, who lives in Edgefield, near Holt, began hairdressing 55 years ago, in a time when it was unusual for a man in Norwich to take an interest in women's hair.
Inspired by his mother, who encouraged him to help by drying her clients' hair in her cottage salon, Mr Hardiment quit his warehouse job at 16, and found work in a hairdresser's in Bishopgate, Norwich.
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He was among the first to train at Norwich City College when it opened a beauty school, and he also trained at L'Oreal in London.
'There weren't many lads around but as a young man it was nice to have female company,' he said.
He opened his own business, John Barry Salon, on Bowthorpe Road, in Norwich, but in 1986 after 23 years he became a mobile hairdresser, keeping many of his clients.
He said: 'Saturday morning used to be the time everyone had their hair done ready to go out on Saturday night.
'Everyone smoked,' he said. 'There were ash trays in the chairs which would need emptying two or three times in the morning.'
Throughout his career, Mr Hardiment said he kept his work traditional.
'I had customers that had been with me for 40 years,' he said. 'They didn't want different styles.'
Mr Hardiment's last day at work was in the Great Hospital community village in Norwich on Christmas Eve.
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