Hair has been growing since the caveman days. Today we strive to look our best for mating or business purposes and therefore see value in the service of cutting hair. Surely there were transactions in ancient egyptian times for such services as well. We have evidence of hair care from that era. For thousands of years humans have paid someone something of monetary value to shorten the length of the hair on their heads. This would be considered a “barbershop” to me. Any monetary exchange for a service like cutting hair would be. But what about one that’s still open today? What about the longest running barbershop in the world? A barbershop in London takes the cake as far as the Guinness Book of World Records is concerned.
Our winner is the Truefitt & Hill Barbershop in St James, London. It was founded in 1805. At the time Mr William Francis Trufitt made wigs. During the early 1800’s syphilis was running rampant. A common symptom was hair loss so those that could afford wigs would wear them to appear healthy. This is actually where the term “Big wig” came from referring to those who wore extra large wigs as they were the most expensive.
The barbershop wasn't always located at the same address but it has been in business for 216 years. It acquired the hairdressing business of Edwin S. Hill & Co. in 1935 to become Truefitt & Hill. It reached its present location where i still operates today in London 40 years ago.
Some of their extinguished guests over the years include: Charles Dickens, Alfred Hitchcock, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra just to name a few from the arts and entertainment business. Truefitt & Hill might be best known and most revered by its royal clientele and their continued patronage to this day. They have cared for all the male members of the british royal family since George III as well as many other European politicians like Winston Churchill.
Aside from their services, Trufitt & Hill has a wide range of products. They offer everything from shaving and fragrance to hair and bath. They say each product is made of rare and sophisticated essences. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to see for myself one day!
Their continued practice of excellency is a standard to which all barbershop owners can aspire to reach.