Last haircut for Northampton barber after 53 years working in the same shop

Robert snapped cutting one of his last customers hair on Wednesday morning. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.
Robert snapped cutting one of his last customers hair on Wednesday morning. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

St James' longest-serving barber is finally hanging up his scissors after 53 years of gents' cuts.

Robert Underwood trained as an apprentice in gentleman's hairdressing when he was just 15 years old and has been working ever since in the same premises, where he rented a chair as a teenager.

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Since reducing his hours to two days a week four years ago, the 69-year-old has finally decided to retire for good and will be moving to Birmingham with his wife Judith to be nearer to his two daughters.

Robert, of Robert Underwood Gent's Hairdressers on Weedon Road, said he's always enjoyed the social side of his job.

He said: "I like meeting the people and I have made a lot of friends.

"I hope I have not made any enemies... but most people are great.

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

"It's sad in a way - 53 years in one place is a long time, I shall miss it."

Robert was unsure why he became a hairdresser but thinks it was by chance.

"I have no idea," he said. "I have often thought about it and I do not know.

"I have always lived in this area and I always came in for a hair cut and I asked the bloke for a job.

"When I started I was very, very shy."

On Wednesday (March 27) Robert - who has owned his business since 1981 - celebrated his final day of barbering before hanging up the scissors once and for all.

His barbershop shelves were lined with 'happy retirement' cards and seats were filled with many of his loyal customers who popped in to wish him all the best and indulge in Judith's homemade cookies.

Although he will be moving away from Franklin's Gardens, season ticket holder Robert, who often cuts the Saints players hair, said he will be back again soon from Birmingham to watch his favourite team in action.