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 and record shops, and 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, our local high street is definitely THE place to come.

At the last count (2013) 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.

sams

Slap-bang next to the station, this was briefly New Malden’s busiest barbershop. Now… less so.

Inside Sams

Inside Sam’s. ‘Quick number one for me and the boy, yeah?’

Judy'shair ext
Judy isn’t sure whether she needs an apostrophe or not, so covers both bases

Judyshair
Inside, the owner seems to have settled on Judys.

The Hair salon ext
Located just a few doors down from Judys. #KoreanHairFight

The Hair Salon
I was tempted to ask the Hair Salon where they got their wallpaper but thought it might sound a bit weird coming straight after ‘can I take a photo inside your shop?’

Headmasters ext
Headmasters was one of the few shops that wouldn’t let me take an interior shot. “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. I know!

Sam and Sunny ext
Hairdresser shops tend to come and go on this site. They suddenly sprout as one neat single shop, then grow in volume 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 ‘do.

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

Sunni and sammi
That’s Sam, or Sunni, on the left, and me (dammit) in the mirror

sopranos oiutside
Open 7 days a week. All gens welcome

Sopranos
The Sopranos at work. Perhaps it was a combination of their shop’s name and the staff’s access to super-sharp scissors that prevented me from mentioning their spelling and punctuation mistakes

DiBiase exterior
Dee Biarsee? Die Bias? Never heard anyone say it out loud

DiBiase
Apparently, DiBiase has been in New Malden since 1914. I hope they party hard for their centenary next year. With a bit of luck Haircut 100 will be free

Agassi
Agassi is fully air-conditioned. Have you ever seen a sign saying ‘partially air-conditioned’ or ‘air-conditioned at the back, on Thursdays’?

essensuals
According to staff, essensuals is ‘the diffusion group of Toni and Guy’

inside essensuals
Here they are, diffusing away

Carrington
Could this be the strangest retail pairing in history? From the outside, Carrington Wood looks (and sounds) like an estate agent. 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 a 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 terraced for £395,000. But we can wax your eyebrows if you like”

“Oh, OK.”

“Take a seat and we’ll go through your finance options.”

“Wha?”

George 2

You know how some of the finest shows in New York are found off-Broadway? Well…

George
It’s not a universal rule. Mind you, George did a good job on my barnet. And 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 property sales.

£9 to you, squire.

Edit: Thanks to New Maldenite Matt Lord (@ThatChapLordy), 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 an area of rubble.

bebe-ii

Behold the Mekon hair domes of death!

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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