SHE has been cutting sailors’ hair in Portsmouth Naval Base for 15 years.
Now the striking paintings which cover the walls of Julia Pankhurst’s barber shop have their own dedicated place to stand out.
Julia has opened an art gallery in what used to be the tourism information office outside the historic dockyard’s Victory Gate.
Lining the walls of the space, which she shares with a new naval bookstore run by publisher Mike Critchley, are dozens of paintings of Portsmouth’s warships in their moments of glory.
Julia will try running the gallery for three months and if business is good it could stay longer.
She said: ‘It was a no-brainer for me to open up a gallery here.
‘I was running out of space in my barber shop to show it all and I was looking for a space somewhere.
‘I came and had a look at this place and thought it was amazing but too expensive for me, but then Mike was opening a bookshop here and we joined up.
‘It’s great and I love it.’
Julia will split her time between the barber shop in the naval base and the new art gallery outside its walls.
‘It’s really nice to be part of naval life,’ she added.
‘We become quite a big part of sailors’ lives in a way because they always come to us and we get to know them. I enjoy it.’
Among the paintings, prints and greetings cards Julia has for sale in her gallery are some of the most defining moments of the Royal Navy’s recent history.
There are paintings of HMS Ark Royal’s final homecoming, along with a limited number of prints signed by Jerry Kyd, the warship’s last commanding officer.
The bookshop and art gallery was officially opened on Friday by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel.
It is a joint venture between Julia and naval book publisher Mr Critchley, who is originally from Gosport.
The old tourist information centre has been empty for the last eight months.