267 - Edwin 'Eddie' Rice
Mens' hairdresser

The earliest date recorded for this property is 1820 when it was known as 16, Lyppiatt Buildings. We cannot be certain of any facts until the mid 1870s but before 1876 Daniel Barrett, who was a grocer, owned these premises. Mr. Robert Johnson who was a baker bought the property in 1876.

In 1898 Mr. Herbert Honey inherited the shop from Robert Johnson and in the same year he sold it to Mr. Alexander Bobbett who was a flour merchant. Then in 1899 Mrs. Martha Dark (widow) purchased the property. She in turn sold it in 1902 to James H. Rice who was a plumber. James Rice then sold the shop in 1920 to his son Gilbert Rice where he established a mens' hairdressers. Gilbert Rice died in 1948 and his son Edwin 'Eddie' Rice took over the business

Dave Cheesley recalls Eddie Rice's in the 1960s and 1970s: "The shop itself was small and by the 1960s and '70s the walls were painted yellow. There was a window display of framed hairdressing pictures backed by frosted glass so that you could not see into the shop, and outside there was a small red and white striped pole. Entering through the front door you turned immediately right through another door into the shop. On the left side were seats for the customers and the customary Andy Capp books and newspapers. At the end of the room was a door into the living quarters. Down the right side of the shop was the barbers chair and sink and on the walls were pictures of men's hairstyles cut from hairdressing magazines. Eddie did not do any of these cuts. It was mainly 'short back and sides' or 'square necks'.

Eddie was a flamboyant character, always wearing a cream coloured three quarter length coat with a dark collar. He prided himself on being knowledgeable on contemporary subjects, politics, football and holidays in particular, talking incessantly as he cut hair. "Been away this year, sir?". He could talk about City or Rovers, "Going to the match tomorrow, sir?" or "Go down last Saturday, sir?". He remembered his customers, which team they supported, where they went for their holidays and their political leanings. Politics was his strong point. Being a small businessman his leanings were obviously towards the Tory party. He could talk politics for hours which could be really annoying if his views differed to yours. Occasionally he disappeared into the back room between customers for a cup of tea or a sandwich. Sometimes his wife might make a brief appearance, coming back from shopping with their dog (a giant poodle). I usually had my hair cut every month on Friday after school; the shop would be packed. Sometimes Eddie's talking slowed down his hair cutting. After every haircut he held a small mirror behind the back of the customers head. "Anything on it, sir?". He then brushed the person's shoulders with a small brush to get any hairs off. This was usually accompanied by "A little something for the weekend, sir?". I had no idea what he was taking about at the time.

About 1969 I had my hair cut in a very short crew cut. This entailed running the razor over my head. I continued having my hair cut at Eddie's until I started to grow my hair longer and I then went to one of the new unisex hairdressers in town. Eddie was one of the old school barbers and never really adjusted to the new trends. He continued with his old customers until he retired."

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