Traditional London Barbers

City Information Centre

   The fashionable City man, suited and booted. But what would he be without a sophisticated haircut or a well-trimmed beard? This is where the barber comes in. As per definition, a barber is a person whose occupation is mainly to cut, dress, groom, style and shave men's and boys' hair or beards. There are quite a few in the City, sometimes with the most extraordinary names such as “Jack the Clipper” in Bow Lane. Traditional Pall Mall Barbers, founded in 1896 as the Pall Mall Toilet Saloon at No. 27 Whitcomb Street, just off London’s iconic Trafalgar Square and Pall Mall, have a branch at 123 Houndsditch, Bishopsgate.
 Truefitt and Hill even go back to the year 1805 “grooming men for greatness“. According to their website they have been recognised as the finest traditional gentlemen’s barber and perfumer in London. They are listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest barber in the world and are Royal Warrant holders to H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh.
 Back to the Pall Mall Barbers. The long-established London history of providing hairdressing and grooming to gentlemen dates actually back as far as the 1600s, when the Pall Mall was transformed from an area for croquet-like game played by royalty and nobility into the shopping and hairdressing destination for well-to-do gentlemen from across the capital and the world. Pall Mall and St James’ have long held a reputation as home of the best men’s outfitters, barbers, perfumers, and gentlemen’s clubs – frequented by distinguished dandies, politicians, and the upper classes. With such proximity to royal households, many of these businesses are long-standing Royal Warrant holders as suppliers to the royal family. The red and white striped poles you often find outside date back to the 1500’s. Pall Mall Barbers‘ owner, Richard Marshall, bought the original store from the previous family owners in 2005 at the age of 28 – growing the business to 6 central London stores - and to Rockefeller Plaza in New York.

 "Sunday Morning"; scene inside barber's shop; a hop boy receives haircut on left; a large man being brutally shaved bellows with rage, centre; another customer receives gentler but discourteous treatment on right; the scene is surveyed by an anxious prospective customer standing at the door.
Sunday Morning, Theodore Lane, c1825 © Collage The London Picture Archive