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Leon the Barber

Leon Tooze started work as a barber back in 1959, he is still going strong with no plans to retire.


Wells Civic Society vice-chairman Philip Welch takes to the barber’s chair to present the plaque to Leon Tooze.
Wells Civic Society vice-chairman Philip Welch takes to the barber’s chair to present the plaque to Leon Tooze.



Back in 1959 we had only two TV channels, the average house cost £2,410 and Leon Tooze started work as a barber. He is still going strong with no plans to retire.


“I love my work and have a real camaraderie with my customers,” said Leon. “They come from as far away as Cheddar, Somerset and Crewkerne to my shop in Wells. I am loyal to my regulars and have no thoughts about retiring as long as my health is OK.” Working on his feet for four hours at a time helps keep Leon fit.


His first job was at Mike Howe’s barber shop in Street High Street from 1959. Then in 1964 he took over an existing barbers in St Cuthbert Street, Wells, which was once the local Labour Party offices, where he remains to this day.


Now Leon has been presented with a plaque to mark running his own barber business for more than 53 years – the longest in the city – by Philip Welch on behalf of Wells Civic Society. “You get to know a lot of people,” Leon said. “I reckon I knew at least half the people of Wells back in the 70s and 80s before the population grew.” Leon believes one reason for the longevity of his business is that he cuts his customers’ hair the way they want it done. “Too often hairdressers think you should look like the latest fashion fad. Nothing is worse than seeing an older gentleman with a young man’s cut,” said Leon. “It is wonderful that the civic society has recognised my long service to the men of Wells. Thank you.”



Wells Map
Leon Tooze's Barber shop is indicated on this map by the pink star (not on the trail map)

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