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My True Hairdressing Life: An Old Time English Apprenticeship, Teasy Weasy and Sassoon

Updated on September 30, 2017
Raymond 'Teasy Weasy' with Vidal.
Raymond 'Teasy Weasy' with Vidal. | Source

We Name A New Hairstyle For A Competition.

So there I stood in 1958, a 15 years old boy I had signed a formal indenture of apprenticeship to become a Ladies Hairdresser. I knew that I had to get a job that was slightly different. Yes, in those days without qualifications the school leaving age was 15. A year earlier I overheard two woodwork masters talking. One said ' I dont know why we do it, they're only industrial fodder ' I didn't forget those words and even today I can still here the words and tone of that masters voice.

My Choice Of Jobs.

I told my parents about this on leaving school and we decided to find a job with a future. Three jobs were decided upon from which I might choose. A Ladies Hairdresser, A Florist, or an Undertakers Assistant! We felt there would be security of employment with any of these. The decision having been made my Father, my Employer and myself all signed on the dotted line. I would work hard and dilligently and my employer would teach me the hairdressing trade. In those days there was a three year apprenticeship followed by two years as an improver. An improver was well able to to carry out salon skills, but until two years had passed you were not considered to be fully qualified. Needless to say you were not paid the top rate of pay until you attained that status.

During my apprenticeship there was great excitement when my employer decided to enter the salon into a competition to devise a new hair style. There was to be a silver cup for the winning salon, with all proceeds going to charity. Competing was a common event for us but this competition was for apprentices only. We were in Manchester and the competition was to be held in Leeds. Both of these cities are based in the North West of England. They are divided by a small mountain range known as The Pennines.

During a training day the apprentices were asked to provide a name for our new style, nobody came up with anything and there was a desperate silence. The boss asked again still no reply. A suburb of Manchester is called Chorlton-cum-Hardy, suddenly it came to me ' How about the Chorlton Twist ' I said. The boss looked at me and said ' Absolutely not that sounds vulgar ' needless to say I was disappointed with his reply. Nobody else said anything and the training session passed.

The Day Of The Competition.

Well the day of the competition arrived, one of the other apprentices had been chosen to set and dress the style for the competition. Before leaving the salon with all five of the apprentices, the boss told us the name he had chosen for the new style, it was to be called ' The Pennine Swirl ' inspired of course by the mountains over which we would drive to the venue in Leeds. We all said how good it was and yes, I thought it was better than my own effort. After a full day of competition we came second out of twenty five competitors. Although not first we felt we had done a good job.

The Boss Was A Genuine True Gentleman.

Just before setting off for home we were gathered together for a chat, the boss thanked everybody for their help and contributions at whatever level. Then he singled me out for having suggested a name for the style. He said I had used my initiative and tried to provide a solution to a problem when it arose. He then presented a beautiful pair of Gold Plated Hairdressing Scissors to the young lady who had dressed the style on stage. He then presented me with a pair of the highest quality Steel Hairdressing Scissors. Both presentations were for effort provided in differrent ways toward the project. Following this we were taken to a Restaurant for Dinner. Then our two car convoy set off home, everybody greatly pleased with the day and evening. I sat in the front of the boss's car luxuriating in the leather seating of his pink and white Vauxhall Cresta - Happy memories of such happy times.

As Time Passed.

I met my wife Pauline whilst doing my apprenticeship. We later married and eventually went on to own four hairdressing Salons. Not all at once however. Many young hairdressers worked with us over the years and some completed formal apprenticeships with us. I remember being at a London function where Pauline and I were introduced to Mr. 'Teasy Weasy' Raymond, at the same time as Vidal Sassoon, all chatting over a coffee. We met Vidal sassoon several times at different shows or functions. Although he did not know our names, we always received a nod of recognition. I have to admit that it always made our day.

Mr Teasy Weasy Raymond.

Before Sassoon, before the Galvins, before Leonard and so many others was Peter Carlo Raymond, ( though sometimes the names differ). He was the first to have his own hairdressing TV show and several salons al using the name Raymond. He was a true professional who demanded the very best from his talented staff. He was an extrovert for those times, a showman and a gentleman. I remember he had three daughters; their names were Cherry, Amber and Scarlett. Whether this was true or a little extra showmanship I don't know.


The photograph at the top shows Raymond in later years, the photograph below shows him in his prime. At the very top of the business.




Raymond 'Mr Teasy Weasy' The first hairdressing showman.
Raymond 'Mr Teasy Weasy' The first hairdressing showman. | Source

© 2012 Graham Lee

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    • old albion profile image
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      Graham Lee 2 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      UPDATING.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 9 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      An interesting thought, however I am now a little detatched from the business, the last thing I would like to do is upset the current crop of 'STYLISTS'. I think the best thing is to look for an experienced hairdresser and not a young over confident stylist. Most hairdressers a re far from primadonna's it is often the other way round. Hairdressers listen, listen, and listen again. They smile and nod appropriately and try to keep the client in the future. You cannot buy experience.

      Best Wishes.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 9 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      An interesting thought, however I am now a little detatched from the business, the last thing I would like to do is upset the current crop of 'STYLISTS'. I think the best thing is to look for an experienced hairdresser and not a young over confident stylist. Most hairdressers a re far from primadonna's it is often the other way round. Hairdressers listen, listen, and listen again. They smile and nod appropriately and try to keep the client in the future. You cannot buy experience.

      Best Wishes.

      Graham.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 9 months ago

      By the way, have you thought of writing a hub on how to pick a good hair dresser? I have a heck of a time with that. I find that most women do. For example, are today's hair stylists mostly primadonna's? Or are they just like most people? What do you think? Could make for an interesting hub.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 9 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi savvydating. Thank you for your welcome visit and comments. These days one can join a Hairdressing school privately. Or Take College course. I thing apprenticships are still operated by some larger Salons, but the old method of indentures has I think now been dispensed with. Yes they were Grand Old Days in the past. Mr Teasy Weasy was without doubt the first hairdressing 'Showman' Vidal Sassoon was also a gentleman. Both of these men came from humble backgrounds and proved that great success was possible for those who tried.

      Graham.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 9 months ago

      What an interesting hub. I had no idea you were hairdresser. Is England like France, in that one has to (either) attend University or become an apprentice immediately after high school? It's actually quite fascinating that you hob-nobbed with the likes of Vidal Sassoon. But it makes sense since you were successful in your line of work.

    • old albion profile image
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      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Peg. Thank you for your valued visit and comments. Yes hairdressing is an interesting and busy life but there are very many high points in operating in a large salon. Thanks again.

      Graham.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great story. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your apprenticeship in a hair salon and your adventures in a hair styling competition. Many years of my life was spent behind the chair in the seventies, eighties and nineties. We loved the competitions and styles of the era like The Wedge, The Parrot, The Pyramid, The Farah Faucett and many others. Thanks for sharing this entertaining tale.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Mary. Thank you for your visit and comments. It's good to read of your daughters success. Barbering is not a dying profession is it? I think they have made the right decisions. Men need their hair cut! They are in a business where there is a need, not just a desire. Your other daughter I am sure will make a success of her hairstyling career. More power to their elbows I say. By the way you did a good job as well didn't you.

      Graham.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I have four daughters, and they all went to Barber School! Yes, barbering is a dying profession, and barber schools are hard to find. Now, everyone goes to Cosmetology school.

      Two of my daughters own their own barber shops, and one works in a hair styling shop.

      I enjoyed your story of becoming a hairdresser!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Suzette. Thank you for your most welcome visit and comments. Yes they were exciting times, Sassoon was a lovely man and Teasy Weasy is now all but forgotten, but he was the first celebrity hairdresser and a great showman.

      Graham.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is so interesting to read how you got your start in the hair salon business. I have three aunts who are hairdressers. They had their own shop in the small PA town they grew up in. How interesting and fun to have met Vidal Sassoon. I remember my aunts talking about him - they went to hair shows in NYC and knew of him but I don't know if they actually met him. He was all the rage in the 60's. Thanks for sharing your story with us. How fun!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Cynthia. Thank you so much for your visit and valued comments. I am sure your son made a success of things elsewhere. Free haircuts for 25 years isn't to bad though is it :) Thanks so much for your share, I do appreciate it.

      Graham.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Graham, thank you for the pleasant glimpse back in time to your days as an apprentice in the Ladies Hairdressing business. Our younger son did very well in a hairdressing course back in the day, but was so introverted that he 'dropped out' of the business the first day on the job. However, we have had freebie hair cuts for the past 25 years, which is a good deal! I will share this memoir! ~Cynthia

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Flourish. Thank you for reading this hub and you welcome comments. You have to make it funny with the tales you are able to tell when doing the job. Regarding the hairdressing business, training today is not as it was then. In so many things I fear today.

      Graham.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I like your thinking about certain careers that would always be necessary. They certainly don't train like this in the US, at least not these days. My uncle, however, became an undertaker's assistant when he was a teen and eventually became a mortician. He can make death sound funny. Terrible stuff, but there's a job for everyone.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Peggy. Yes you had to try for security or go under very quickly. I don't know, an undertakers assistant could have led to being an undertaker, now there's security :)

      Graham.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This was interesting from the start as to what your parents thought would make a good long lasting career. It proved true in your case since you went on to own 4 hairdressing salons. Aren't you glad you did not end up as an undertakers assistant? You undoubtedly had much more fun with your career. Up and interesting votes!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Maj. Thank you for your visit and comments. Yes a choice indeed all of them offered a future as you realise. Your's it seems had similar aims. Raymond seems now to be forgotten but he was the first of the celebrity hairdressers. I remember he claimed that he had three daughters; Cherry, Amber and Scarlett. Although I have searched them I cannot find any reference to them anywhere. Keep smilin'

      Graham.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Graham, loved this hub. and what a choice of occupations for the future - A Ladies Hairdresser, A Florist, or an Undertakers Assistant! Made me smile but yes, quite right, absolutely good choices. Way back then, in Lancashire, I think mine were nurse, telephonist, secretary! Memories abound of those days and I hadn't remembered Mr Teasy-Weasy until I saw this. How popular he was - everybody knew him and everybody copied his hairstyles, most clumsily in many instances but it didn't matter. It was 'Raymond' Thanks for the memories.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      High Deb. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. We used to attend various hairdressing events every year. Pauline used to enter many as well ( she was much better than me) Yes, they were great days all gone now unfortunately. Thank you for your votes and following. I shall follow you, best wishes.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this Hub very interesting and sweet. England is so much different than the US. I also tried Hair School - I was in my 20's and paid by the GI Bill - I completed 1,000 hours. Unfortunately I failed my Practical State Board Exam - I couldn't cut hair that well and my finger waves were terrible. I never went for a refresher course to try the exam again & then there is the written exam to pass as well. I loved the Hair Shows - I was a model one time. I am glad I learned what I did - and worked as a Shampoo Girl for awhile in a Salon. Your story is wonderful. Thanks. Up.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      rajan. Thank you for your visit and comments and blessing. Yes. he was indeed a true gentleman. It was a pleasure to be in his company.

      Graham.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Graham, I enjoyed reading this. Your boss was certainly a true gentleman. A very valuable lesson in here for all of us.

      Thanks for sharing this life experience with us, my friend.

      Have a wonderful day and God bless.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Eddy. Thank you again for your valued visit. I do hope the sun is shining in beautiful Wales.

      Graham.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub here Graham and yes I vote up and share. Take care my friend and enjoy your weekend.

      Eddy.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello JamaGenee. Yes my old boss was indeed a true gentleman. The pink and white car was so opposite to what he was. But he knew even then, the power of getting noticed in business. Everyone was treated exactly the same. From the lady that made and served the coffee to the top stylist, a word or an ear for all.

      Graham.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      How lovely of your employer to reward you for Effort, even though the name you came up with for the style wasn't the one used in the competition!

      Voted up, awesome and interesting! ;D