Tales from one of Swansea’s oldest and oldest barbers, who has now been in business for 50 years


For generations there has been a constant for men living in a Swansea community. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, if you live in the Brynhyfryd or Manselton area, chances are you’ve had your hair cut by a man at least once in your life.

Peter Hill has been cutting hair for 50 years through his company Pete’s Gentleman Hairdresser. Well known for his excellent barbering skills and friendly nature, he is perhaps even more renowned for his sense of humor and choice of jokes. So much so that her online reviews reference her jokes as much as her haircuts. A selection read: “Great barber, nice guy, terrible comic”, “Pete is always ready with scissors and old jokes to keep punters happy while waiting for a cut” and “Tells really terrible jokes but a good laugh. Will give a good quality haircut.”

It all started for Pete when he was 19 years old. He ‘fell’ into the hairdressing business to make a living at Attilo’s in Swansea city centre, traveling from Llanedi when he once lived. Then an opportunity arose at his base in Llangyfelach Road, Brynhyfryd in April 1972, and he has remained there ever since. His father opened a stationery business down the road. Get stories from Swansea straight to your inbox with our newsletter.

READ MORE:Hairdresser named one of the best in the UK

Pete pictured at work

“It happened and I thought I’d give it a try – if you last you will last, if you don’t you’ll get a factory job,” Pete said, thinking back to when he first decided to settle down for the first time. shopping alone.

“It was closed for six months before I took over, so it was really about starting from scratch.”

A lot has changed since that first day. Previously, men could have their hair cut for just 25p, with prices for boys set at 20p and 16p for pensioners. These days it’s £9.50 for men, £9 for boys and £7.50 for OAPs. And hair styles have changed too.

Pete reflected on five decades of haircuts for men living in Swansea

Pete is known as much for his jokes as he is for his haircuts

“Road – old fashion always comes with style in a cycle,” Pete said. “It’s the same with clothes. If you went home and looked in your grandfather’s photo album, you’d see the same haircuts as today. Now there’s a little gel, wax, moose, clay but it’s mostly the same thing The good thing is these days you can pull out your phone and show what you want and say what you want something like that. Before, it would be a photo.

“They were all one man bands back then, you had one store – two stores max. If you came to my house, you’d come because you want me to cut your hair. have a stylist favorite and they may not be there.

“I joke around with customers a bit, I’m a bit of a clearance trader and like to crack a joke, talk about football or whatever. It’s the same as when you’re chatting in the bar or pub with the owner, it’s the same kind of thing. What someone says to you in the chair, stays in the chair. To me, a barber’s chair is a bit like a doctor’s chair. Some people just want to talk and want someone to listen to them.”

Pete’s family presented him with a cake celebrating his 50 years in business, which showed what the business looked like from the outside when he started and what it looks like now

What Pete’s Gentlemens Hairdressers looked like when it opened 50 years ago

The 69-year-old’s wife and children recently held a celebration to mark his 50 years in business, and now there’s a picture in the window that shows what the business looked like all those years ago when it is opened.

“People look at this picture in the window and say, ‘I’ve been coming here for 47 years’ – because they recognize it from what it looked like, it helps them remember how long they’ve been coming here,” he said. -he declares.

“I was told it was a good achievement to do it for 50 years, but for me it’s like another day. You can look ahead for a long time, but you look back and you feel like it’s gone in the blink of an eye. You have to take the good with the bad.

“I have no intention of retiring. I still like it – I would have left otherwise. It’s also a social life. It’s good social interaction, and as long as my health holds up, I will continue.”


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