Rosemary’s parting is end of era at salon
A hairdresser has swapped curlers for gardening gloves after 50 years of snipping and styling in Ashford. But customers are reassured the business will remain up and running, thanks to a gregarious clairvoyant... Clare Mulgrew reports HALF CENTURY: Styli
A POPULAR Ashford hairdresser is stepping down after 50 years of cutting ladies’ hair in the town, to focus on gardening and grandchildren. Rosemary Cook, of Peter Cook hairdressers at 57 High Street, has retired together with her husband of 49 years, Ivan. The couple set up business together some 25 years ago but Mrs Cook has been a hairdresser in Ashford since July 1956. She started out at The Elite salon above the old Co-op in High Street, then moved to Betty’s in Station Road. After taking time out to have children, Mrs Cook went it alone with support from her husband, who managed the accounts, and gradually built up a strong customer base under the name Peter Cook. “When I started rollers were just coming in,” she said. “The Italian ones had just come into fashion, started by Sophia Loren in the Fifties. “The perms were a bit uncomfortable to do and very expensive – it was two guineas
The perms were a bit uncomfortable to do and very expensive – it was two guineas for a perm
for a perm. “We had bouffant hairstyles, birds nests, flick-ups and flickdowns then it got softer and more natural as the time went by. “The French pleat was a difficult style to do because it all had to be back-combed first and it took quite a long time to do.” Mrs Cook said there had been no major hair catastrophes over the years, but a couple of times when ladies had been left with a greenish tint or hair like cotton wool because of the bleaches that were available. “I think the natural look is my favourite,” she added. Now the grandmother-offive has called it a day, but in loyalty the business has been sold to another hairdresser who has promised to maintain its traditional charms. “I felt it was the right time to retire,” said Mrs Cook. “It has been great because all the clients have become friends. “It’s a bit of a wrench but I know it’s in good hands now.” She and Ivan will be spending more time with their grandchildren, working on their one acre garden and cycling on the coast.
Rosemary Cook, left, with the new faces at Peter Cook Hair Stylist, which is changing its name to A Cut Above The Rest with Shirley Wilkinson as new manageress and new owners Yvette Fillery and Gordon Dewar
Rosemary Cook, circa 1980, at the Peter Cook hair salon in Ashford High Street