Britain’s oldest hairdresser has revealed she has no plans to retire – as the 91-year-old celebrated 65 years of working in the same salon.
Margaret Sherlock, who lives in Chorley, Lancashire, completed her apprenticeship in 1945 before opening her own salon, Hair By Margaret, on June 19 1956, where she still works four days a week to see her regular customers.
The mother-of-two recently marked 65 years to the day since she opened shop and celebrated by giving a perm to the first customer she ever served, who is now 90.
The hairdresser revealed: ‘I’m not considering retirement, my customers would be very upset. They wouldn’t know where to go if I stopped working. And a lot of the younger hairdressers don’t know how to do the styles my customers like.’
Margaret Sherlock, who lives in Chorley, Lancashire and is still chopping away aged 91, has said she has no plans to retire anytime soon
Margaret completed her hair apprenticeship in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, when she was just 15-years-old (pictured)
Margaret completed her hair apprenticeship in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, when she was just 15-years-old.
However, there was little demand for hairdressers so she trained as a nurse in Omagh.
In 1952 she came to England with her sister and they both worked at Eaves Lane Hospital in Chorley, which is now a housing development.
Later she married Frank and when her daughter Linda was born in 1956, she opened the salon in her front room on the day she took her new baby home from hospital.
She opened her own salon, Hair By Margaret, in 1956 and still opens four days a week to see her regular customers (pictured, with an early customer)
The business started off in the front room but soon became a proper salon, with the family living upstairs until 1971.
Margaret said: ‘I only intended to run the salon until Linda went to school but the business grew and Frank joined me in the hairdressing trade.’
Incredibly Margaret has only ever shut the salon down once, when her son Adrian was born.
She said: ‘When my son Adrian was born in 1962, I decided that I would carry on so that I could be around for both of the children while they grew up.’
Incredibly Margaret has only ever shut the salon down once, when her son Adrian was born (pictured together in 1963 outside the business)
Margaret, who still uses the same razor she had when the shop first opened, has seen a lot of popular hairstyles come and go over the years, such as the Princess Diana flicked bob in the 1980s.
And according to her daughter Linda Sherlock, 64, the Northern Irish-born former nurse will keep going until she ‘physically can’t go on’.
Reflecting on her career, Margaret said: ‘It’s been lovely, I’ve loved every minute. I’ve always had wonderful customers who I’ve got on very well with.
‘Lots of them have come back year after year so I know them very well and would consider some more like family. They tell me all about their problems.’
Margaret, who still uses the same razor she had when the shop first opened, has seen a lot of popular hairstyles come and go over the years
Margaret worked alongside her husband Frank until his death at the age of 80 in May 2008.
To this day, she stands on feet for hours on end day after day while tending to her customers, many of whom simply pop in for a cuppa and a chat.
Her mainly elderly clientele come for their weekly shampoo and set, a ‘dying art’ which involves applying setting lotion to hair, putting in rollers and drying gently under vintage hair dryers.
She is also in demand for her perms, which are not so common nowadays.
Daughter Linda, who has helped out in the salon after retiring from her job as a deputy headteacher, said customers are more like family (Margaret pictured with Linda and son Adrian)
She thinks she has stayed a cut above other salons in the area because she treats her customers like a friend, rather than just a client.
And she said that her customers have given her great support right from the first day she opened the salon.
She said: ‘Customers have been really good – they have really backed me up from day one. I now can’t wait to get back to see them.’
Daughter Linda, who has helped out in the salon after retiring from her job as a deputy headteacher, said customers are more like family, and once they get their hair done they keep coming back.
She credits her success to the fact she treats her customers like a friend rather than just a client and they have given her great support in return
She added: ‘A lot of mum’s customers worry about her retiring but she’s wants to keep going until she physically can’t go on anymore.’
While hairdressing keeps Margaret fit, Linda said her wonderful zest for life also keeps her healthy.
She added: ‘Some people have a glass-half-full attitude to life, but my mum has a glass that’s brimming over. Her customers do wonder where she gets it from.’
The business started off in the front room but soon became a proper salon, with the family living upstairs until 1971 (pictured outside the business)
Linda said they had planned to have a tea party to celebrate 65 years of Hair By Margaret but that current restrictions prevented them from doing so.
She added: ‘It was lovely to mark the occasion with Jean coming in for a perm.’
Linda Sherlock has recently written a book about her mum’s remarkable life entitled Shampoo and Set: 75 Years as a Hairdresser.