Ever wondered about the history of barbering and how the barber shops of old used to operate? Well, we recently had a visit from Dr Alun Withey at our Fitzrovia barber shop in London, who knows all about such things.
Dr Alun had come in to have his beard shaved off and in his role as an academic historian of medicine and the body and a 2014 AHRC/BBC ‘New Generation Thinker’, he has written a really interesting piece on his blog all about the history of barbering. It was all being filmed too! We’ll let you know when it’s being shown on the BBC.
As this was his very first experience of a professional wet shave with an open blade, he was naturally a bit nervous but as he was in the process of making a short film about shaving in Georgian Britain and this was part of his research, Dr Alun wanted to experience a proper wet shave by a qualified barber, and let’s be honest, if you’re going to have a cut throat razor held against your skin, you’d definitely want a Pall Mall Barber doing it!
Fortunately for Dr Alun, the barber in question – Michael, knows exactly how to give the closest, smoothest shave known to man and Dr Alun seemed impressed! And he knows a good barber when he comes across one as he’s spent the last 5 or 6 years researching and writing about shaving and the history of barbering.
In his blog, the history of barbering is covered from the 18th century when the skills, hygiene levels and quality of the barbers’ tools often left gents of the time, with sore faces and nicks and cuts galore. Thankfully that’s no longer the case!
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