Based on childhood recollections
of shops in Edmonton, north London in Edwardian times.
Red and white striped barber's pole signifying a barber's shop. Photo taken
in recent times outside a barber's shop.
You could always recognize a barber's shop, because
there was a red and white pole outside, about 18 inches high and 4 inches
across. Barbers cut men's hair and did shaving.
A teacher told me that striped poles were common
outside barbers' shops because the levels of literacy were so low that
clear symbols were needed to encourage custom.
A good barber was well sought after because being able to trust oneself
to someone with an open razor was obviously important.
A man to be shaved would first have a towel put over his shoulders and
under his chin. Then the barber
would work up a lather with a small brush and soap, apply the lather with the brush and use the razor to
scrape it off, along with the beard stubble. Finally the man would have a warm towel put round his
face which was supposed to help the skin feel better.
Women often cut their husbands' and children's hair. It was all a matter of
cost - but couldn't you tell!
I have been unable to find a barber named Rawlinson
in Silver Street in the 1911 census. So he probably arrived later.
Pat Cryer, webmaster
and daughter of the author
Our local barber in Edmonton was owned by the Rawlinson family.
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.