I WONDER how many hairdressers there are in Salisbury at present?

I had my hair cut last week in the city and it was over in no time at all – and that included the electric shaver to the neck.

But if my research serves me right, going to the barber these days is nothing like so exciting as it used to be, when you had your hair brushed with a circular collection of bristles. Running above the basins was a shaft with large wheels fitted. When it came to the time for the hair to be brushed before the dressing and the final flourish were applied, the barber lassoed one of these wheels with a rubber band and then fitted the other end of the loop round a grove in the brush, and away it whirled, giving a stimulating massage to the head.

It seems that the last people in Salisbury to use such brushes were Messrs Clark and Pothecary who once had a men’s salon in Butcher Row. Gone, too, are the lather boys. They got on with the soap-and-brush work whilst the barber shaved another customer, so that the next client was all ready for the razor when it came to his turn.

At least the barber I attended recently had the traditional red and white stripped pole outside his shop. At one time they were always in position to indicate the nature of the business carried on. I am told the pole itself represented the staff held by persons engaged in blood letting, when such treatment was looked upon as the remedy for almost everything. The two spiral ribbons painted around the pole represented the two bandages, one for twisting round the arm previous to the letting and the other for binding. Barbers, of course, used to be the surgeons.