Farewell to Waterlooville barber who was a cut above the rest

Bill Blyth
Bill Blyth
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Picture: Ian Hargreaves (170626-1)

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HE was one of the first barbers to master the ‘flat-top’.

And during the rock and roll era ‘Teddy Boys’ who wanted to impress the girls would travel from far and wide to have their hair cut by Bill Blyth.

Warm tributes have been paid to the pensioner, who has died at the age of 86.

Mr Blyth owned and ran Vivaldi hairdressers, in London Road, Waterlooville, and ran a successful barbers in Unicorn Road, Portsmouth, for the best part of four decades.

He worked until he was 85, when arthritis in one of his thumbs prevented him holding scissors.

Leann Reed, 33, who works at Vivaldi and knew Mr Blyth for 18 years, said: ‘He taught me everything I know – all my hairdressing.

‘He was one of the first men in the south to do flat tops.

‘He never used a flat top comb.

‘He always did it free-hand with scissors and clippers. He was a workaholic. He loved to work.

‘This shop was his life.’

Mr Blyth, of Sunnymead Drive, Waterlooville, was born in Hull and moved down to Portsmouth to serve in the army.

During these years he was in the army’s brass band and developed his love of classical music.

He worked at William White’s barbers at Unicorn Road and took over the business in the 1940s, staying there until 1981 when it was demolished.

He bought the shop in Waterlooville and it was originally called Harmony.

Ms Reed said: ‘He changed the name of the shop to Vivaldi so he cut hair for all seasons. He said the girls in the shop were his family.’

Mr Blyth’s wife died in the 1990s and he had a stepdaughter.

Genevieve Denijs, 25, who also works at Vivaldi, said: ‘He was funny.

‘He was always really kind to us.

‘He used to drive round in his sports car TVR until he was 85 with classical music blaring.’

Mr Blyth was laid to rest at Portchester Crematorium last Friday.