Barnoldswick barber brings up 50 years in the business
On November 13th of this year, Peter Jeffrey Wilkinson (70) will bring up his half-century as the owner and sole barber at his well-loved establishment, Peter J Wilkinson’s Town Barbers.
Peter - whose middle name was inspired by the Oscar-nominated American actor, Jeff Chandler, of Broken Arrow fame - is hoping to celebrate the momentous occasion with a trip in the new year to visit friends in Cape Town in South Africa, and said that he wants to continue to “enjoy” himself and keep doing what he loves most.
“I’m pricing up some flights to Cape Town,” Peter said. “I want to enjoy myself; there’s no sense in being the richest man in the urn! I’m from Lancashire, not Yorkshire!”
While Peter’s barbershop started life as a storeroom for his father’s Colne-based joinery business, it was soon transformed into the local fixture it is today after Peter had completed an apprenticeship in Manchester and returned to Pendle to embark on his barbering career.
“It’s made me a decent living,” said Peter, who opened the shop in 1967. “I started as a 20-year-old, and now I’m a youthful 70! I managed to keep my hair, too! It’s been a good journey, with a few years to come yet, I hope.
“It was just me at the start and it still is,” he added. “One piece of advice my father gave me was don’t employ anybody, and I’ve stuck to that!”
Peter, who never married, is also a keen runner who has been lacing up his trainers to keep fit and stay active since the 1970s. Having travelled abroad for running events in the past, he is continuing his jet-setting habits to take part in an event in Benidorm in Spain come November later this year.
“I’m fit and well and it only takes me a couple of minutes to get to work, so as long as I feel like I do, I’ll keep on working indefinitely,” an invigorated Peter said. “There’s no stress, I don’t have to answer to anybody, and - provided there are bums on seats - I’ll keep on going.
“I’ve not had anyone famous in the shop, but I’m relatively well-known in the area,” Peter said. “But due to the fact that I’ve been her so long, some my customers are dying off!
“But I still have loyal regulars,” he continued. “And I wouldn’t want to start off now, with all the competition there is. I’m glad I’m the age I am.”