Blackpool barber Stuart retires after nearly 60 years in trade

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Blackpool barber Stuart Taylor is hanging up his scissors after nearly 60 years in the trade – 30 of them at his last salon.

 

Barber Stuart Taylor is retiring after 30 years and plans to auction the collection of foreign money on his wall for charity.

Barber Stuart Taylor is retiring after 30 years and plans to auction the collection of foreign money on his wall for charity.

The 75 year old has been cutting and styling hair at the Stuart barber shop on Waterloo Road, South Shore, since 1991.

But a bout of ill health, a mystery ailment which caused his limbs to swell up, has persuaded Stuart to retire a little sooner than expected – he planned to close the shop around Christmas time.

And with the closure of the long-running business, Stuart now plans to sell off one of the most eye-catching features of the premises – the huge collection of hundreds of foreign and vintage bank notes which were displayed on one of the walls.

Some of the notes in Stuart's shop in South Shore, Blackpool, which have now been taken down

Some of the notes in Stuart’s shop in South Shore, Blackpool, which have now been taken down

The idea is to auction the notes – brought in by customers after a globe-trotting banker pal began giving him spare notes and started a trend – and raise money for two causes close to his heart, Cancer Research and the Alzheimer Trust.

Bringing down the curtains on his career has allowed Stuart to reflect on the many hair fashions he has seen come and go over the past six decades, giving him a barber’s view on British culture.

Stuart, of Wilson Square, Norbreck, said: “I’ve seen all these hair styles come and go.

“When I started as a 16 year old apprentice in this town, the fashion was for short back and sides with a side parting and a little dash of hair product to keep it in place.

“Just before I retired I was cutting young lads’ hair in the very same style because people like Christiano Ronaldo have brought it back into fashion – sixty years later!

“Over the years we have Teddy Boy or Elvis cuts with big quiffs, then we briefly had the short Perry Como look, then lads wanted something similar to the Beatles, then a longer cut, then a much longer hippy style – and then gradually men’s hair started to get shorter again. I’ve done them all and it depends what pop star or footballer is currently in fashion.

“Curly perms were the big thing in the 1970s, men wanted to look like Kevin Keegan and the star football players, but I used to send those customers to the lady’s hairdressers up the road!

“I will miss the job because I’ve made many friends and good acquaintances; being a barber you sometimes end up being a confident and counsellor, because some men tell you things about their life while you’re giving them a haircut.”

Blackburn-born Stuart moved to the resort when he was seven and at 16 he was apprenticed to a barber’s shop ironically called Stuart, as it was run by veteran cutter Stuart Moss.

After learning the trade he eventually opened his own shop on Park Road, before moving to Whitegate Drive and then the now familiar shop on Waterloo Road.

Stuart is married to Heather but sadly she now has dementia and needs professional care.

He has a 39 year old daughter, Sara, who lives in Widnes, Cheshire, but lost his son, Alan, to cancer.

His grandchildren are Ava, Alex and Aaron, Elizabeth and Sheree. Tragically, another grandchild, Michael, died in an accident.

Stuart, who has now taken down the bank notes, said: “That’s why I want to raise money for those two charities.

“I have notes from all over the world – Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Italy.

“I’m hoping to sort out some sort of auction and sell them as a job lot. It will be money for good causes, in more ways than one!”