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Still cutting hair…Colin Lane at work today

Barber celebrates 50 years at “Canterbury institution”

There are businesses in Canterbury and there are Canterbury businesses. Steven James barbers in Castle Street is the latter.

It’s not just a business, it’s a Canterbury institution which has been cutting men’s hair for 110 years.

And barber Colin Lane has been with it for 50 of those years.

The 65-year-old was just 15 when he started working for boss Jim Flower.

He said: “I’ve very much enjoyed it. I’ve had lovely clients and that’s why I’m still doing it.”

Steven James barbers is always busy

Jim said: “Colin has done 50 years which is amazing. He’s extraordinarily loyal and very reliable.”

The Flower family first began cutting hair in Canterbury in 1908 when Henry George Flower went to work for a barber in Palace Street.

A year later he bought the business and paid £13 a year rent to operate.

The Flowers then had various premises including at North Lane, Bridge and Whitstable.

Jim’s hairdressing career started at Masculine Hairstyles in Whitstable Road in 1962. It was run by Steve Baker and was known as the place to go.

He then went to work for his dad Bert in 1967 and worked alongside him until he retired in 1972.

Jim then opened a salon in Burgate in 1976 before he relocated to the current premises in Castle Street in 1985.

The salon is named Steven James after Jim’s sons who each run their own businesses in Canterbury and Faversham.

Jim retired in 2014 at the age of 67. He has three grandchildren: Isabelle, Oliver and Eva.

Oliver has just started his own apprenticeship, meaning that a sixth generation of the Flower will be cutting hair in Canterbury.

“It’s very much a case of history repeating itself,” Jim added.

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