MORE than 50 years ago John Hallett began practising haircuts in his mum’s kitchen.
Now, five decades later, the 65-year-old is taking his retirement after 41 years running the shop that carries his name in Anjou Crescent, Fareham.
His last day behind the chair will be December 22.
But even then he won’t be hanging up his scissors – John will carry on with a small-scale mobile service, visiting clients’ homes.
He said: ‘I can’t imagine stopping altogether, I’ve not got any other outside interests.
‘It was something I always wanted to do, from a early age. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy cutting hair and I have given it my best.’
From those first practice cuts, John began an apprenticeship at Norman’s barbershop in Fareham, and spent 1961 to 1970 there, before starting up in Anjou Crescent.
‘After leaving Norman’s I had a bit of a following who came to the new shop with me,’ he added.
‘And I just built it up from there by word of mouth.
‘A lot of my customers I’m on first name terms with and it is like dealing with friends. There are a lot of them who have been with me for many years.’
Barbara Pescott, 73, from Hunts Pond Road in Fareham, said: ‘I’ve been coming to John for 35 years, so you could say I’m a satisfied customer.
‘He keeps my hair stylish and I’m always happy with it when I leave the shop. I will miss coming here.’
And customers still travel from far afield for John’s talents; one couple still travels twice a year from France to see him, other regulars come from Bournemouth, Hindhead, Oxford and all across south Hampshire.
Although he started out in a men’s barbers, it was changing fashions that led him towards cutting women’s hair.
He said: ‘It was in the late 60s when men started growing their hair longer and that short Mia Farrow style became popular for ladies, so I started doing women’s hair in that style as I had the skills to cut hair like that.
‘Nowadays I’d say I do an equal proportion of men and women’s hair.’
But despite being a hairdresser, John is not without skeletons in his own haircut closet.
Wife Diana Hallett, of Paxton Road in Fareham, added: ‘When we got married, we both had big curly perms – we both looked the same.’
And daughter Jo Hallett, 35, like most of the rest of the family, still has her hair cut by John.
She said: ‘It’s going to be sad when dad leaves this shop.
‘You would come here as a child all the time, helping out on Saturdays, that sort of thing, and it was a big part of my childhood.’