One of Morecambe’s longest serving men’s hairdressers will make his final cut this week when he retires after 54 years behind the barber’s chair.
Raymond Griffiths has developed his Clarence Street business into an Aladdin’s Cave of traditional hairdressing and smoking requisites.
His shop is in many ways a walk back in time - a bewildering range of loose tobacco, still weighed by hand on a pair of scales; roll-your-own cigarette papers; umbrellas; walking sticks of all shapes and sizes, including rubber ferrules for the tips of the sticks; and an array of amazing pipes.
And all the purchases paid for through an old-fashioned looking till, Raymond pressing down the relevant keys, the drawer emerging ‘Open All Hours’ style.
Through the shop and into the salon, where Raymond’s many loyal customers have over the years gathered on two benches waiting their turn to sit in the chair. Two national newspapers are on hand to read, the world is put to rights and jokes are told while politicians of all parties and, at times, the local council are exposed to a withering barrage of criticism.
Raymond, born in Shipley, was still only 14 when he began work as an apprentice hairdresser.
He met his future wife, Maureen, at a local picture house, when they were both 17.
They married in 1962 and moved to Morecambe that year, Raymond having bought the Clarence Street hairdressing business from a Mr Cooper.
Still trading opposite the shop at that time was the famous Bob’s Temperance Bar.
Raymond well remembers the short back and sides era of his early career and makes the point the style is staging something of a revival.
There was also the famous Beatles phenomenon, when just about every lad wanted to look like one of the Fab Four.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the job, all the banter, the putting the world to rights, and the jokes,” said Raymond. “But everything must come to an end.”
Raymond and Maureen have a daughter and son, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
He is a life member of Morecambe and Heysham Constitutional Club, having been a member for 50 years, and where he still enjoys a game of snooker.
Raymond and Maureen have thanked their friends and customers who have supported them down the years.
And just for the record: Where does Raymond get his hair cut?
At Derek’s in Heysham Road, it seems.
“I cut his hair and he cuts mine, at great expense!”