Desperately seeking barbers

A college is looking for stories about going to barbers' shops during their heyday in the mid-20th century to help with new courses being planned for next year.

South Tyneside College is looking at the possibility of launching a number of advanced barbering courses in September 2009 - it currently offers a short ten-week barbering course in traditional cutting techniques.

As part of this initiative, the college wants to examine the history of barbering in the North East, specifically between 1900 and the 1950s - considered as the golden era of the specialism.

The college is particularly interested in hearing about people's experiences of going to the barber during that time, and also wants to know about traditional barbershops and individual barbers throughout the North East.

Senior hairdressing lecturer at South Tyneside College, Andrew Parkes, said: "Today it seems that more and more men are taking pride in their appearance and, as a result, the male personal grooming market is growing rapidly in the UK. This trend means that traditional barbering techniques such as razor cutting and wet shaves are right back in fashion.

"Our new courses will cover these traditional techniques and ensure our students are equipped with highly sought-after skills. "But as part of the advanced courses, we also want our students to gain an invaluable insight into the history and development of barbering in the North East. We hope that local people can help us gather this information."

Anyone with information, photographs or stories about barbering in the North East over the past 100 years should contact the Sixth Form Faculty Office at South Tyneside College on 0191 427 3531 or email andrew.parkes.

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