Field Trip!

Fellow student Danish Daniel and I decided to make a pilgrimage to Nice One barber shop in Chingford—which is WAY East London—because our benevolent barber school overlord Papi hails from there.

Papi’s grandparents from Greece established a barber shop here in 1969; his father runs the shop to this day, and 3rd generation barber Papi works there every now and again, as do two of his cousins.

Though on this particular Saturday, Papi was supposed to be in Newcastle at a football match—he ended up covering for one of the cousins instead, so his football (soccer!) dreams were thwarted :/

So close, yet so far away

On my way to Liverpool station, I stumbled across one of the Lumiere London 2016 installations. I’m a sucker for neon lights, so I had to step inside and take a gander at the pretty sparkly art for a moment before hopping on an overground train to Chingford.

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Right off the train, my first impression is that Chingford is tiny and adorbs. Just outside the overground station gates, there are sandwich board signs for a quaint Tudor-style barbershop. Pretty sure Hobbits gets their beards and feet hair trimmed here. We didn’t go into this little shop, however, as it wasn’t the priority.

Hobbit shaving station


A short bus ride later, we arrived at Nice One. The shop is located on a bustling main street, with plenty of foot, bus and car traffic. The interior is cozy and simple: 3 barber stations, comfortable bench seating along 2 sides of the shop for customers to chill on while they wait their turn in the chair, plenty of reading material.

It was pretty packed when we got there, so we didn’t want to take up too much time/space. In the short time we lurked there, we learned an interesting fact.

INTERESTING FACT: Traditionally, barber shop sinks are placed in front of the chair, and clients simply lean forward to rinse their heads before or during the cut.

In more “modern” shops, the sinks are built for leaning backward into—apparently that positioning is borrowed from lady’s hair salons, and meant for working with longer hair. With short (men’s) hair, leaning forward into a sink gets the job done without the client needing to move to a separate hair wash station. #themoreyouknow

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