Hairdresser calls it a day after 70 years

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AFTER more than 70 years cutting hair, Kathleen Privett is finally hanging up her scissors and looking forward to enjoying her retirement.

The 93-year-old has been working at Maison Drayton in Havant Road for 72 years – ever since her father Samuel Whitmore Smith set up business there.

The salon, which employs Kathleen’s daughter Barbara Evans, 70, daughter-in-law Patricia Privett, 68, and nine others, will close its doors for good on Friday.

Kathleen, from Drayton, said: ‘I’ve been in this hairdressing business for 72 years. We’re closing as we think it’s time to have a bit of retirement as the family are getting older.

‘We are going to miss it so much. We have been doing some of our clients’ hair for over 50 years. They are not just clients, they become friends, you get involved with their families. I shall be very sad to not see them regularly.’

Her father used to have a hairdressing business on the top floor of Handleys of Southsea, before he relocated to Drayton, with the family moving in upstairs.

Kathleen said: ‘Being a fully trained hairdresser, every time there was a crisis or we were short of staff I’d come down and give a hand in the shop.’

She said she had many good memories of the shop – but there have been tough times too, especially during the coal miners’ strike when the power kept going off. And Kathleen said she has seen many changes to the area.

‘I came to live in Drayton 90 years ago. It was so different, in fact it was just a village – I still call it that. I can remember when Drayton was surrounded by fields,’ she said.

But now she is looking forward to some well-earned free time.

‘If my back will let me, I will be gardening as I love it,’ she said.

Barbara, from Drayton, is also retiring. She said: ‘It’s the end of an era. I’ve been working here for 55 years and the upstairs flat is the address on my birth certificate.

‘We’re a family here. It’s been a big part of my life. Although I’m looking forward to doing some projects in my retirement, like upholstery and gardening, plus spending time with my husband and walking my dogs.’

Patricia, who also lives in Drayton, said: ‘Obviously it’s sad that the shop is shutting but there comes a time when we have to retire.

‘We have been here such a long time, it might even be the oldest hairdressing business in Portsmouth.’

There are still discussions taking place as to what will become of the shop when the business closes.