Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Staff Were One Big Happy Family -

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Staff Were One Big Happy Family -

Article excerpt

PETER Dennison has had a long and illustrious career at Bainbridge and told us of his memories of joining the store in 1960 in an apprenticeship scheme straight from school.

His dreams of becoming a hairdresser were now closer, having secured a place on the Bainbridge three-year hairdressing apprenticeship.

Located on the top floor of the store, it was the largest hairdressing salon of its kind in Newcastle.

Its name was its mark of quality, as they quickly grew a loyal and varied clientele who requested the styles of the day such as backcombing and finger waving.

After the first two years of the apprenticeship, students were allowed to work on the shop floor for more practical experience. "This was especially nerve-wracking as we were no longer in the safety of the salon school," said Peter, from Fenham, who has been retired for two years.

Staff were offered a rate of half a crown for a shampoo and set, there were no blow dries at the time) and external customers would pay on average seven shillings. "The quality of the store and the salon was reflected in the prices," explained Peter.

The salon was in itself unique for its time. "It was 'the done thing' to get your hair done at Bainbridge's," he explained. "The quality of the service and surroundings gave customers a sense of luxury and pampering."

As for the staff, Peter says the feeling was of one big happy family - a special family since they were unique in being the only department in the store to have a separate dining and coffee break area.

"The boss was a good man and very considerate," remembered Peter. "He always whistled loudly when coming up the stairs to the salon so you had time to busy yourself if need be."

The big changes came to the salon in 1976, when Bainbridge moved into the newly-built Eldon Square.

"That in itself was quite an event," he said. "We were due to start trading on a 1945: Family payments in Britain at (25p) a but no the Thursday and the Sunday before, all staff were drafted in to help move stock from the Market street site to Eldon Square by transporting it in trollies across Market street, the Grainger Market, through the Green Market, up into Eldon Square and along to the new site.

"We must have looked quite the part."

A major event of 1976 was the Queen's Jubilee, and it was the year the clock which still hangs on the wall outside John Lewis was presented to the centre. Eldon Square allowance introduced five shillings per child, payment for born. closed to shoppers on that day to allow all retail staff to meet the Queen.

The girls in the hairdressing department wore bright orange overalls at that time and formed an orange patch in the crowd, noticeable to the Duke of Edinburgh who wanted to know "who all the people in orange were? …

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