Top of the crops

MODERN salons are all well and good, but some people may prefer the hairdressers of yesteryear.

With those customers in mind, a new barber’s shop has opened in Heckmondwike which offers the total ambience of a bygone era.

Fitted out with a black and chrome decor and early 1970s barber shop furniture, the shop even features a retro record player. Because, says owner Kevin Gavaghan, it was music – as well as the shop’s location – which inspired the classic look.

The shop is situated just below the junction of High Street and Batley Road on the border of Heckmondwike and Batley.

“I was driving past when I saw the shop at the junction was up for rent and I thought I would apply for it because it was such a great location,” said Kevin.

“As soon as I got it I knew the shop had to be called Up the Junction after the Squeeze song, which was the main inspiration for the retro theme.

“I went on the hunt for retro hairdressing chairs and memorabilia. Everything came together perfectly - retro chairs, retro wash unit, vinyl LPs and a retro-looking record player, and black and chrome decoration. It looks stunning!”

Kevin, 51, who lives in Bradford Road, Batley, and attended Batley Parish School and Batley High School.

His first hairdressing job was as an apprentice at Alcock’s in Heckmondwike, where he stayed 12 years. He worked for Arthur Alcock for five years and then with Derek Coulson in a self-employed capacity for the next seven.

From there he moved to Batley to work with Gareth Price for eight years and then went to Hightown where after a short while he opened a shop in partnership with Amelia Blakeborough called the Crop Shop, and they ran the business for 15 years.

But after 35 years of cutting hair, Kevin decided he needed a break so the pair sold the shop and went their separate ways.

Kevin, who is married to Janet and has one daughter, Michelle, and one grandson, Niall, took a City and Guild Certificate in portable electrical appliance (PAT) testing but never followed it up.

“After 12 months out of work and needing an income, plus getting under the wife’s feet, I started looking for a job,” said Kevin.

“Again nothing seemed to spark an interest.”

But then he spotted the shop and decided it would be an ideal opportunity to carry on with what he knows best – and the barber’s shop was born.

An open day was held on Saturday for people to step back in time, check out the new premises and of course get a new ‘do’.