WHEN Harry Callaghan began his career as a hairdresser 50 years ago rollers were king and blow-drying was yet to come.

Today, at 65, Harry is still cutting hair and creating the latest hairstyles in a career which has spanned everything from competing, judging and teaching as a well-known industry figure.

“And I still love it!” he insisted.

Harry was born in Daubhill, the youngest of two boys.

His father was a joiner in the Bolton family business, although he later became a clerk of works for various large construction companies.

He went to St Peter and Paul’s Primary School and Sunninghill Primary before attending Hayward Secondary Modern.

Although young Harry was not academically inclined, he did know what job he wanted to do: hairdressing.

He managed to get in as a Saturday lad with hairdresser Michael Gildea who soon suggested that Harry would be better studying hairdressing full-time at Bolton College.

So, at 15, he joined three other boys and 48 girls on the full-time City and Guilds course, absorbing everything “and really enjoying it all”.

“I had a flair for hairdressing,” he recalled.

When he finished college, he went working for the Washington Hair Group, then at Myra Lowe’s salon, and as senior stylist for Arthur Lawrence.

However, his dream was to open his own business and in 1974 he opened his salon in Manchester Road, Kearsley, moving two years later to Cabello in Wigan Road, Bolton where he stayed for 32 years.

During that time, he not only built up an impressive clientele but also a reputation for industry knowledge that has always stood him in good stead.

Deciding to share that knowledge, in 1979 he took a teacher training course and embarked on another strand of his career.

He taught part-time at Bolton Technical College, St Helens College, Widnes Halton College, Leigh College, Bury College, North and South Cheshire colleges and, for a while, worked full-time at Blackpool & Fyde


In 2001, he became an NVQ assessor.

By the time he decided to leave Cabello in 2007 he had become a consultant trichologist and wig-maker with an enviable professional reputation.

He was elected to the board of governors of the Institute of Trichologists and later became an external assessor for them. He also did consultancy work for giant firm Unilever in Turkey and this country.

As well as teaching all over the North-west, he also judged hairdressing competitions and became an expert witness for legal work.

Harry has never stopped learning and his list of qualifications covers everything from management and men’s hairdressing to a Master’s degree.

“I think it’s really important never to stop learning new things,” he explained. “You need to keep on top of the industry and know about the latest ideas and techniques.”

He acknowledges that the industry has changed over those five decades since his first days hairdressing. “I think the teaching of young hairdressers has changed a lot in that time,” he stated. “It’s much more condensed now.”

New techniques and products have revolutionised hairdressing although the skills of individual hairdressers are more important now than they ever were.

“Men’s grooming has changed dramatically.

“Men value hairdressing more now and there are so many more products specifically for them.

“But we’ve gone back to old-fashioned barbering which is very popular again.”

As for Harry, his career in 2018 may still be varied — although he has clients who have been with him for several decades and continue to rely on his skills —hairdressing is still a main drive in his


And he’s still at the head of his profession.