Cliftonville’s Barry the barber is hanging up his scissors after a whopping 58 years

Barry's last day is on Thursday

A barber who has cut the hair of thousands of customers since 1960 is finally hanging up his scissors.

Barry Gardner has been at his shop Barry’s, 32a Northdown Road, for 27 years but started in the trade in Margate as an apprentice 58 years ago.

As well as cutting the hair of generations of families he has also taken the scissors to stars such as comedians Tommy Cooper and Arthur Askew when they were performing at Margate Winter Gardens.

The grandad-of-four said: “The stage hands used to come to me as well. Tommy Cooper told me he wanted his hair cut ‘just like that!’

“I was an apprentice in Margate for three years, then I worked further up Northdown Road. Then I took over this shop from Bill Debling.

The shop when it was owned by Bill Debling

“Over the years there have been lots of different styles with The Beatles’ haircuts and then the long hair, which is men started using hairspray, and it has got shorter again now. Beards are also in fashion.

“When the longer hair was fashionable a lot of barbers ended up closing and then you had the start of the unisex salons offering blow drys etc. Before that men wouldn’t have a blow dry, it’d be wash your hair in the bath once a week!”

Barry at work

Former St John’s secondary student Barry, 73, has seen many changes during his time in No. He said: “We used to have Bobbies department store, an MFI, Woollies, Munro Cobb furniture. And then there were the holiday-makers with all the small guest houses and hotels in the side roads full up for the season.”

The dad-of-two and great-grandad-of-one says the best bit of his career has been meeting people from all walks of life and making friends.

He retires on Thursday when he will put in a full day but invites customers to pop in and have a drink.

Regulars waiting for their trim before Barry hangs up the scissors

Retirement won’t mean putting his feet up entirely. Barry will continue with his role as a sports presenter on Academy FM and spend time watching the games at Margate FC and enjoying the cricket season.

The former Under 17s and 19s cricket coach will also put a few hours in to his garden.

The business will remain a barbers and is being taken over by new owner Tommy Hewitt.

UPDATE: Barry’s children have arranged a get together for him so the family and staff member Stef Pollard are trying to track down customers that have been with him over the years. If you, your dad, grandad, uncle, friends etc would like to go along email us at [email protected] and we will pass it to Stef.


  1. All the best Barry
    You must of cut my hair for forty of them years
    It was always fun coming to your shop and listening to your jokes
    Hope you leave your joke book with Tommy Hewitt
    Enjoy your retirement mate
    All the best
    Mark Foord

  2. Good to know that the business will remain a barber’s. Tommy Hewitt is a really great barber and a nice guy and its great that he will keep the tradition of the shop going into the future. Great news!

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