Hairdresser celebrates 50 years working at Long Stratton salon

Stephanie Mendham with Ruth Barnes, Rachael Mayes (manager) and Debbie Placzek'''PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Stephanie Mendham with Ruth Barnes, Rachael Mayes (manager) and Debbie Placzek'''PICTURE: Mecha Morton

A hairdresser is celebrating working 50 years in the same salon.

Stephanie Mendham, 69, started the salon, on Ipswich Road, Long Stratton, when she was just 19.

Since then the business has changed hands, but Mrs Mendham has continued working there under different owners.

Last week, staff at the Cheshunt Hair Studio, friends and clients helped celebrate the occasion.

“The salon is actually attached to the house in which I was born,” said Stephanie, who is married to Pat, 71, a farmer.

“My great grandfather first ran the shop as a butchers in the 1920s and then my mum moved here with her parents to help run the shop.

“I was born in the room above the salon, in 1948, grew up there, and opened it as a hair salon, called Top-Knot, in 1968. I was self employed there for 30 years, with up to six staff at a time.

“I decided to give up self employment in 1998 and the property was sold. Fortunately, the new owner, Heather Monument, another hairdresser, kept me on.”

Mrs Mendham has worked out she must have cut the hair of around 62,500 people at the studio.

She still has some clients coming to see her from as far away as Gatwick and people who regularly visit Norfolk from abroad.

“If you work out 25 clients a week, multiplied by 50 weeks a year, minus two weeks for holidays, that’s 62,500 people,” said Stephanie.

“I have cut the hair of five generations of one at least one family and at one point must have known just about everyone in the area, until Long Stratton got so big.”

“Styles come back into fashion over the years.

“I have enjoyed every minute of it, which is great because I always wanted to be a physiotherapist.

“The girls at the salon keep me going and call me mother, aunty, sister and friend.

“I am whatever they need and don’t intend to retire, just yet.”