A WINCHESTER hairdresser is retiring after more than 50 years in the city.

Aubrey Monahan started cutting hair in Winchester 53 years ago as a 16-year-old apprentice, earning £1 per week for the Andre Bernard firm.

Now Aubrey, 68, and his wife Barbara are selling up their Southgate Street salon, Aubrey at Marcia Gray, to enjoy their retirement.

He said: “With immense regret my wife and I have decided it’s time to retire. I love Winchester and Winchester has been good to me and I have always tried to give something back to the city.”

Aubrey came to Winchester from Ireland aged four, and got his start when his mother paid 100 guineas for his apprenticeship.

He went on to work for Marcia Gray, before taking over her business 35 years ago, working in Parchment Street before he bought his current building.

He said: “We are a bit of an institution in Winchester. I have clients who have been coming here for nearly 50 years on a regular basis. Some of the ladies are bereft that we are closing. “There are other hairdressers out there but coming here is like a social event for them, almost like a club. There’s a family feeling here.”

He added: “Hairstyles have got very casual these days as fashion has always been driven by the young. “We cater to the slightly older lady, what we call ‘the over-21-club’, and we have a niche in the market, we offer something traditional.

“We do a lot of work with rollers; I would say 60 per cent of my business is using rollers and hood dryers, which you don’t see much of anymore.”

Aubrey said he wanted to hand the business over to a young hairdresser, but was unable to find anyone suitable.

The business closes on December 22 and the building has been sold to an interior designer.

Aubrey and Barbara are looking to move to Surrey to be closer to their family.