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50th anniversary for Foleshill hair salon

Foleshill Road hairdressers in Coventry are still going strong after 50 years in the business.

The salon was first opened by 72 year old Valerie Young in June 1962 and she still lives and works there today.

And there’s every likelihood that the studio will celebrate its centenary as daughter Shelley and 20-year-old grand-daughter Freya both work at the salon.

Valerie said: “We’ve done it all, from bouffant to modern cuts. The men used to have short back and sides, now it’s all modern styling. Styles do come back, but in a slightly different way. At the moment there’s an upsurge in hair up, but with a modern twist to the hair that was in the 60s.”

Valerie says her favourite thing about her job is talking to people: “I was very shy as a youngster, but hairdressing brings you out. It keeps you young working with young people and you get great job satisfaction.

“I’m hoping my daughter and granddaughter will take over so I don’t have to work as hard, but I have no plans to retire just yet.”

Valerie, who trained with city stylist Lillian Dodd, opened the salon with her sister Gillian Bennett when she was 22 and Gillian was just 19.

Her father encouraged her to open the shop as her husband Len was a painter and decorator and he thought that they could never survive on Len’s wages alone. Len sadly passed away 14 years ago.

Valerie said: “We bought the shop for £3,000 which was a heck of a lot in those days: the average wage was just £12 a week.”

The Foleshill hair salon opened at the start of the swinging sixties.

Valerie said: “It was fantastic, we did a lot of hair up and hair pieces. We had Herberts on the doorstep, and Courtaulds and GEC, and all the young ones used to come and have their hair done on a Friday night before they went out. They were queuing out of the door.”

Many of the staff have worked on cruise liners and one was the salon manager on the QE2.

Valerie was born and raised in Earlsdon and Chapelfields.

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