Ladies' favourite salon set to close

TODAY hairdressing salons tend to be cater for young customers wanting to emulate the latest David and Victoria Beckham styles.Programmes such as the Channel Four reality show The Salon, and celebrities Nicky Clarke and Charles Worthington have taken the world of hairdressing to new heights.

TODAY hairdressing salons tend to be cater for young customers wanting to emulate the latest David and Victoria Beckham styles.

Programmes such as the Channel Four reality show The Salon, and celebrities Nicky Clarke and Charles Worthington have taken the world of hairdressing to new heights.

But at one Suffolk shop, the modern world of designer cuts and terms such as highlights, extensions, wax and gel are completely alien.

Stepping into Playfords ladies' hairdressers in Friars Street, Sudbury, is like stepping back in time.


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Entering the small two-floored salon you will find huge Dalek-style overhead dryers and customers having their perms set in old-fashioned rollers. It can only be described as a traditional.

Playfords specialises in haircuts for the elderly. It has around 60 customers on its books, the majority of which are aged over 60, including Sudbury's oldest resident Kathleen Grimwood, who is 102.

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But the loyal pensioners, who once loved the proverbial blue-rinse, but now prefer a simple set and perm, will soon have to find a new salon to meet their specialised needs.

After a 70 year history Playfords is closing its doors for the final time at the end of the month.

Owner Kathy Carter, who has run the shop for the past seven years, said: “My lease is running out at the end of the month, which means we are having to close. It is very sad because most of the customers have been coming here for years.

“It has become more than a hairdressers, it is also a meeting place for many of the ladies and for some coming here is the only outing they get.

“We are very traditional and still use all the basic equipment that has always been used, such as rollers and overhead dryers, we don't use all the modern technology. Most of our customers have simple sets, perms and colours, although we don't use the blue rinse anymore.

“The ladies do need a place like this. Today's hairdressers are very much aimed at the young and are super trendy, and there are not enough which cater for older people. Here, it is like and home from home.”

Former Sudbury mayor Ray Playford set up the shop in the 1930s and owned it for around 40 years. Most of the customers have been with the salon for decades and many enjoyed trendier cuts in their younger days. In the 1960s the most common styles requested where the beehive, the pageboy and the French plait.

Marie Everett, who has worked at the shop for nearly 20 years, took it over in 1990, before Kathy Carter took on the business in 1997.

Last year Rhona Playford, the original owner's wife, died and the shop was placed into the ownership of her relatives. Her family has now decided it no longer wants to lease the property and has decided to sell it off.

Ursula May, 82, of Sudbury, has been a customer at Playfords for 61 years. She said: “I am very sad this place is closing, because we all love it so much. It hasn't changed over the years and that is why it appeals to us. I started coming here as a young lady and never been anywhere else.

“Many of us have been coming here for so long that we have all become good friends and we will all miss each other.”

Playfords will close on March 20.

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