A HAIRDRESSER who has provided a friendly ear to Morpeth’s men for more than 40 years is to hang up his scissors at the end of the month.
Doug Johnson became owner of The Top Knot in Newgate Street six months after joining what was then the first barbershop in the town to also do hair styling in 1969.
The 67-year-old has loved his profession and has built up many friendships with his regular customers.
“When I started at Top Knot we changed the town as it was the Swinging Sixties and plenty of men wanted to come along to get their hair styled,” he said.
“I soon bought the owner out then built up my customer base and I’ve been here ever since. The people who’ve been here include former Mayors of Morpeth, chief constables and editors of the Morpeth Herald.
“There are quite a few of those who came along when the shop first opened who still come here today and they’ve brought their kids and grandkids, and I get a lot of people from rural areas of Northumberland.
“I can’t thank the people of Morpeth enough. They’ve been absolutely wonderful to me over the years and I’ve formed many close friendships with them.
“The number of cards and bottles I’ve received for my retirement has been overwhelming.
“We’ve laughed and cried together and I remember one customer saying he will never forget what a great comfort to him I was when his wife died.
“That’s the sort of relationship I’ve built up with people. It’s not just come in, get your hair cut and go, and some customers have told me their innermost secrets.”
Doug started a five-year hairdressing apprenticeship in Gosforth at the age of 15 and in his early 20s he worked in Spain.
But when he came back to the North East on holiday in 1968, he fell in love with a woman called Margaret and decided to stay.
The couple later got married and today they live in Bedlington. They have a son, David.
Of his retirement, Doug said: “I must have loved it because I have been here so many years and in all that time I never thought about doing something else.
“But I feel the time is right to call it a day and I’m looking forward to doing more fishing and golf with friends as well as spending more time in my allotment at Guide Post, on my stick-dressing hobby and with my wife – who has given me great support over the years.”
He added: “There is an interested party so it may not be the end of the shop, but we will have to wait and see what happens.”