The hairdressers of New Malden

You’re looking for a book that isn’t by James Patterson or Maeve Binchy.

You’re under 30 and you fancy a new shirt or a pair of trainers.

You like browsing around antique stores or record shops, or enjoy buying your meat from a butcher and your fish from a fishmonger.

If any of these apply to you, you can safely give New Malden High Street a miss. Try Wimbledon or Kingston instead. But if you want a haircut, then our high street is definitely THE place to come.

At the last count there were no fewer than 11 hairdressers on this half-mile strip of road. (That’s excluding the slightly dodgy-looking ones located up narrow staircases, behind single doorways at the side of shops.) In New Malden, only estate agents and food outlets are thicker on the ground.

Right next to the station, this is probably New Malden’s busiest barbershop.
No one who works here is called Sam.

Inside Sam’s.

Judy isn’t clear about whether to include an apostrophe, so covers her bases.
Judy is also as real as Sam.

Inside Judy’s. Or Judys. Note the modern, understated furniture.

Located just doors away from Judy’s. #koreanhairfight

Inside The Hair Salon. You don’t get that kind of wallpaper at John Lewis.

The long-established Headmasters.

Headmasters was one of just three shops that wouldn’t let me take a shot inside. “We have a marketing department, and they’re very strict on that sort of thing.” Surprisingly, it is also the only local hairdresser to have a hair-based pun in its name.

New Malden’s newest hairdressers*

* Actually, it’s difficult to tell with this site. Hairdresser shops tend to come and go here, sometimes starting off as one neat single store, then growing to become double-fronted before being trimmed back to a single shop. The staff can vary in sex, number and ethnicity, while the name of the shop changes with the frequency of Lady Gaga’s hairstyle.

Only an hour before this picture was taken, ‘BARBERS SHOP’ occupied the left hand side while the food takeaway ‘Baguette, Set, Go’ enjoyed its all-too-brief existence on the right.

Inside Sam & Sunny’s. No idea who’s who.

“J-j-j-ust a haircut please”

Inside Sopranos.

Dee biarsee? Die Bias? No idea.

Apparently there’s been a DiBiase salon in New Malden since 1914. I hope they’ll be playing lots of Haircut 100 next year.

No interior shots, I’m afraid. I know you’re massively disappointed.

Apparently, essensuals is ‘the diffusion group of Toni and Guy’, although it looked like a ‘hairdressers’ to me.

Inside essensuals.

The strangest retail pairing in history.

From the outside, Carrington Wood looks (and sounds) like an estate agents. Then you notice those posters in the window  advertising eyebrow threading and waxing. So what exactly is it? Well, it’s perhaps Surrey’s first hybrid estate agent/beauty parlour/hairdresser/lettings agent. Inside, the front of the shop has a few office desks and filing cabinets in the typical (though slightly down at heel) estate-agent style, while the back is given over to the hair and beauty side of the business. They wouldn’t let me photograph inside the shop, evidently thinking it a bit of an odd request. They know all about odd at Carrington Wood.

“Hi! I’m looking for a Victorian semi, three beds, about £350,000?”
“Sorry mate, the best we can offer is a modern semi for £395,000.”
“Oh. Shame. How about a number two on top and a one on the side?”

Just as some of the best New York shows are found off-Broadway…

Here’s George. Unlike Sam or Judy or Sunni or the other Sam, I’m pretty sure George is his real name. He’s cut hair in New Malden since the 1970s and I don’t think he’s ever going to expand into eyebrow threading, diffusion products or real estate.

£9 to you, squire.

PS – thanks to New Maldenite Matt Lord (@ThatChapLordy on twitter), we now have a pic of the hairdressers that catered for the very, very old of New Malden. Bebe was demolished in 2006 to make way for a vacant area of rubble.

13 Comments

Filed under London learnings, New Malden, Stuff

13 responses to “The hairdressers of New Malden

  1. Matt Lord

    Enjoyed this, BNM. I have a photo of ‘Bebe’, the charming hairdressers that used to be across the road from the station car park, just before it was demolished. It must have been there since the fifties, having stoically resisted the eviscerating forces of modernisation seemingly unchanged all those years. I’m sure you must remember it. It was a proper old-school hairdressers, with a window box outside, lace curtains, and those classic old floorstanding hairdryer contraptions. Five years on, and it’s still a screened-off building site. meh.

    • bravenewmalden

      I remember Bebe! I took a photo too, but lost it when my old hard disc gave up.

      I only hope that when they demolished the building there was no one stuck beneath one of those Mekon hair domes reading Woman’s Own.

  2. Excellent piece on the fine hairdressing establishments of New Malden. Kevin. Many years ago Jonathan Margolis, the journalist wrote a piece (I think it was in the Evening Standard) on the hairdressing establishments of Ilford where I (and he) grew up. At the age of 5 I used to be taken by my mother to the regal sounding ‘Savoy Saloon’ in Gants Hill where an old boy in a bow tie would cut my hair. For some years, I was convinced that this was in fact Robin Day, the well-known political broadcaster, interviewer and part-time barber.

  3. Excellent piece on the fine hairdressing establishments of New Malden. Kevin. Many years ago Jonathan Margolis, the journalist wrote a piece (I think it was in the Evening Standard) on the hairdressing establishments of Ilford where I (and he) grew up. At the age of 5 I used to be taken by my mother to the regal sounding ‘Savoy Saloon’ in Gants Hill where an old boy in a bow tie would cut my hair. For some years, I was convinced that this was in fact Robin Day, the well-known political broadcaster, interviewer and part-time barber.

  4. Gail C

    I had my hair cut in Bebe in the 1970s. My mum, my brother and I all went, for a cost of £1.50 in total. Bargain!

  5. I LIVE above one of these hairdressers. This post has made me laugh. Out loud, at that. A much better post on New Malden than mine.

  6. bravenewmalden

    It’s from the heart, though. That’s what matters.

  7. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/dec/29/philip-french-zoe-di-biase-film-criticism

    An article about Mrs Zoe di Biase, who married one of the hair dressers, and her fascination with film, by the wonderful Philip French.
    I enjoyed your blog.

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