Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Demon Barber

The image shows "Private First Class Troy Dixon, Leadhill, Arkansas, uses a Japanese barber chair to cut the hair of Sergeant John Anderson, Anita, Pennsylvania Both men are members of the 363rd Field Artillery Battalion., located near Shuri. Okinawa, June 10, 1945., ca. 1900 - 1982” *

My New Year’s Resolution is to keep my posts short, just like the subject’s hair in this photograph. The barber here is no demon, simply giving his comrade a handy haircut at time of need. 

My newly acquired (car boot sale) book, 'News from the English Countryside 1750-1850' by Clifford Morsley, tells the story of a real demon barber:

From a correspondent to The Times
“ I must tell you a ridiculous thing that occurred in a small village in Oxfordshire last week, and which caused a diminution in my congregation yesterday. A man wearing a certain badge of authority and calling at each house, informed the inhabitants that he was a Government Barber, sent from London, to cut all the people’s hair gratis, it having been ascertained as the most effectual way of keeping off the cholera, which had already made its appearance. The fellow succeeded in carrying away with him sufficient hair to make several wigs, and the deluded people were obliged to set to and make warm caps to defend their bare heads from the cold which set in next day”
From the Bucks Gazette 12 December 1846

Im sure Sepians would never be so gullible, but just to be sure dont answer the door to any strange men offering their services free. Instead, keep your hair on and go and visit other contributors to this weeks Sepia Saturday, which gave us a hairy prompt to set our creative juices flowing.
*Flickr Commons


  1. What a swizz! Well I won't be giving my hair away for free anytime soon....it would take years to grow back. At least Mr. PB's can be easily renovated by a trip to the fabric shop (but don't tell him that) Pink wig, anyone? 💇

  2. Goes to show there have been conmen (and gullible people) for ever.

    On the subject or barbarism / barbarity, I had my head shaved by a Filipino able seaman on a ship once who also cut hair on the side, when I asked him to shave it completely he proceeded to set about my head with a cut throat razor, thankfully we were not in the middle of a storm at the time. I don't think I took a breath for around 15 minutes.

  3. That is funny!

    Yes I keep saying that I need to keep my posts short and to the point.........but it doesn't happen!

  4. Hello,

    Gosh, this us all a rather grizzly start to the New Year. The archive photograph is quite extraordinary. It never ceases to amaze us how the usual routines of daily life carry on in the most inauspicious circumstances.

    As a young child one of us had long blond hair cut off, sold and sent to a doll making company. Wonder where it is now?

    Thank you so much for the kind message which you have left for us. Wishing you and your family joy, peace and prosperity for 2015.

  5. I am reminded of the time a friend's younger sister cut her own hair. It was a real disaster...

  6. That's one gorgeous barber chair to have survived all the destruction.

  7. Good to know! Thanks for such a genius photo and post. This photo just makes my day. Incredible.

  8. I think I've probably mentioned this before, but my grandmother was a teenager when the "Bob" cut became popular & she so wanted to have her long hair cut. But her father refused to allow it, so one night she deliberately sat too close to the fire in the fireplace & burned her hair short. Rather risky, but she was determined!

  9. I had the same thought as Barbara when I saw the photo - what a splendid barber chair. And what a thing to survive Okinawa too! As for Gov'ment Barbers, they will be the next imaginary monsters blamed on Obama!

  10. I'm with Barbara and Mr. Mike -- how did that chair get there?? Or if always there, how did it survive?

    I enjoyed the story of the scamming barber. Clever trick.

  11. Well!These Days They Talk About "Government Cuts"Today, Can You Imagine A Government Barber Turning Up At Your Door With A Cut-Throat Razor!


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