When a Hairstyle Trimmed Barbers' Profits
The Galt Museum’s artifact collection began in 1964 with the creation of the City of Lethbridge’s Civic Museum. Since then the object collection has grown to over 13,000 artifacts which illuminate the stories of our city.
An article published on March 6, 1964 in the Lethbridge Herald describes the community donating photographs and objects to fill the museum, which was then housed in the Bowman School. The article mentions the donation of two artifacts that the Galt’s Collections staff are currently researching: “Robert E. Faulds turned up with two straight razors.”
Faulds worked as a local barber for 48 years, beginning his career at the Westbrooks Barber Shop on 6 Street South before starting his own business, “Bob’s Barber Shop.” Throughout his career, he saw many changes to men’s hairstyles. A hairstyle came to Lethbridge in the 1970s that was a particular challenge for traditional barbers, the “long-hair craze.”
The Lethbridge Herald reported on May 20, 1978 that this fad gave barbers “two options: get out of an unprofitable business or stay to see profits severely trimmed.” Some local barbers adapted to the changing industry by painting the word “hairstylist” on their windows “to encourage the younger crowd” and expanding their offerings to include shampoo sinks and “fluff-and-blow dry sets.” Faulds represented the die-hard, traditional barber when interviewed for the article, stating “I’m not in that [styling] business. It’s fine for those who want to do that sort of thing, but I don’t.”
Faulds contributed many artifacts to the museum’s collection of barber materials, including the barber pole that sat on 6 Street South for 40 years from the opening of Westbrooks Barber Shop in 1917 until its donation to the museum in 1965.
You can see all the barber artifacts donated by Robert Faulds in the Galt’s online collections database at https://collections.galtmuseum.com.