Wigan barbers put down their scissors ... after 53 years

Two popular Wigan barbers have retired after more than half a century in the business.

Barry Jackson and Ian Sharrock have been providing hair cuts to the men of Wigan since the sixties, but are picking up the scissors for the final time after 53 years of service.

Barry Jackson (left) and Ian Sharrock

Barry Jackson (left) and Ian Sharrock

Their efforts have shifted across Wigan over the years, starting in 1964 at the Kingston Salon on King Street - where a haircut would have set you back 12p.

It was there that an 18-year-old Barry took on Ian as an apprentice.

Ian left shortly after, before returning in 1970, and has worked with Barry ever since.

“We’ve worked together all these years and there’s never been a bad word between us,” said Barry.

We’ve worked together all these years and there’s never been a bad word between us

Barry Jackson

“He’s a pain, but we get along,” he joked.

They moved to a new shop at the top of Library Street in 1971, then to the Market Hall in 1988. During that latter time, squeezed in a tiny corner kiosk with customers sitting outside in the main hall, it was joked they had the “world’s smallest barber’s shop with the world’s largest waiting room!”

They finally settled with Snips at The Galleries Shopping Centre in 1996, that is until Ian recently made the tough decision to retire due to an ongoing back injury.

Barry said: “We had 53 years of happy times. Ian is sad because he wanted to be with me when we close, but unfortunately it can’t be the case.”

A small silver lining from the sad situation was that the closure gave Barry time to reflect on over five decades of haircutting memories.

“We were the first to bring styling into Wigan,” the 71-year-old said.

“We were the first gents’ shop in Wigan to use hairdryers. When we set up, most of our customers didn’t recognise the hair dryer, but times soon changed. We used to blow dry for no extra cost, so the customers would get used to having it done.”

Work quickly spread about Barry and Ian’s innovative new styling methods and they’ve had a loyal customer base ever since.

Barry said: “We’ve had a real good mixture of people. My first customer still comes in - he’s in his late 80s now but he still comes for a regular cut.”

And although they have a core group of regular clients, he insisted that everyone was always welcome at Snips.

“Everyone who comes in gets treated the same way. We even have third generation customers now!

“We’ve been through dozens of styles over the years - feather cuts, skinheads, shaved partings.

“I think it’s like any fashion. It goes round and round.”