Leamington’s ‘longest serving’ barber is celebrating nearly six decades of changing styles, friends and loyal customers as he looks back on a lifetime of cutting hair in the town.
Anthony Eden is getting ready to celebrate a milestone 50 years since setting up on his own in the trade he loves.
And almost 59 years since he first picked up a pair of hair scissors as a 15-year-old apprentice, he can even boast still having handful of his very first customers.
Born in 1942, the grandfather has lived and worked in the town all his life.
Starting out as an apprentice around Christmas 1957, he later took on his own basement premises in Kennedy Square where he was to cut hair for the next 29 years.
Once the lease was up, he made the move to the Clarendon Street shop with happy customers and two keen teenage apprentices, Daren Papworth and Kris Robbins.
Cutting hair is what I love and I will be doing it for a long time to come yetAnthony Eden
And with the team of good friends and colleagues still together, he said other than the hairstyles - things have hardly changed since.
“I almost cannot believe it has been so long,” he said. “I still have half a dozen customers from when I was an apprentice with Neville. They still come in for the same cut.
“This is a nice trade to be in, you get to meet so many people and I cut the hair of whole families, grandparents right down to their grandchildren.
“People keep coming back and that is lovely, we must be doing something right.”
Looking back to how it all started, the 73 year old said being a barber had been his dream since the age of 12 when he would be fascinated watching his own at work.
Mr Eden - named after former town MP and Prime Minister of the same name - decided to find an apprenticeship aged 15 after being encouraged by a teacher at his Milverton School.
His own barber turned him down but sent him to try his luck with Neville Lawson on the Parade - and the keen youngster was employed on the spot, setting him off on a 59-year adventure in the trade.
Now arguably the longest serving barber in the area, Mr Eden told the Courier: “It was not until April 1966 that I started out on my own. I had a 21-year lease, it seemed like a lifetime but I can’t believe how quickly 50 years has gone.”
But despite almost six decades of changing times, the grandfather has not forgotten changing styles and fashion.
“Short hair was in when I started, short back and sides , that was the main cut,” he said.
“It has come back around. The difference is customers know what they want, before it was them having what their parents told them to have.
“There was a time when we just Brylcreemed hair down, and we had a quiet spell in the 1970s when everyone had long hair like the Rolling Stones. They would come in for the odd trim, but now hair is short again, which I like.”
Mr Eden, who was described as “so much more than just a boss” by Daren and Kris, is inviting customers old and new to celebrate his milestone year with a glass of wine in the barbers at any time during next week.
Looking forward to marking 60 years in the trade, the barber said he has “absolutely no plans” to hang up his scissors. “Cutting hair is what I love and I will be doing it for a long time to come yet,” he said.