Hanley barbers gets the chop to make way for new council HQ
A HAIRDRESSERS which has trimmed Stoke-on-Trent barnets for half a century is to be demolished to make way for a council's new headquarters
Kevin Broad, who has worked at The Gentry Hairdressers, in Broad Street, Hanley, for 39 years has agreed a deal with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to sell the shop.
It will now be bulldozed to allow work on the new £40 million Central Business District – which will include the council's new headquarters at the heart of the development – to continue.
But Kevin, who became a partner in the business in 1990, when the original owner, Derek Burns, retired, said his business will continue at a new premises.
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He said: "You can't argue against a Compulsory Purchase Order. I have reached a deal with the council and I will be moving to new premises in the area.
"I still don't agree with the council moving its headquarters, but bringing extra council workers over to Hanley has got to be good for business in the town and it's got to be good for me."
Yesterday Kevin, and his business partner Carl Amantia, swapped stories with original owner Derek, and his old partner, Paul Tomlinson, as they prepared to close the salon for the final time. Derek first opened the barbers shop in 1963, aware the council was preparing to move operations from Stoke to Hanley's Unity House, which was eventually built between 1973 and 1976.
Derek, aged 80, of Wetley Rocks, said: "I spent three days walking around Hanley looking for a suitable shop. This salon used to be a wet fish shop, they would serve customers through the window.
"It took a couple of years to build up custom. There were three hairdressers on this street.
"When I started everyone had short-back and sides. Then after The Beatles, everyone started having long hair and hairdressing completely changed."
Paul, aged 64, of Hanford, worked for Mr Burns as a teenager, before returning to take a share of the business, taking over from original partner Ivan Farmer, who emigrated to Australia.
Mr Tomlinson, who left the business in 1980 to become a police officer, said: "In the 1960s, Broad Street was a haven. We had the ABC cinema, the bowling alley and a lovely little sweet shop next door.
"The 60s was a complete revolution in music and fashion. It was fantastic."
Carl couldn't speak a word of English when he first joined the salon at the age of 20, after moving from Sicily to marry his wife and live in the Potteries.
The 61-year-old, of Wetley Rocks, said: "I used to use a lot of hand gestures to communicate with the customers.
"When I first worked here there used to be hundreds of people walking the street. Then all of a sudden, everything went."
Kevin added: "I have loved it. It's not a job – you have a laugh and a joke with the customers and get paid for it.
"There's no stress. Wherever you go, there's always someone who knows you. The customers become friends. It's great that we are staying in Hanley."