Popular St Albans hairdresser and businessman dies aged 69
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Friends and family have paid tribute to popular St Albans businessman and hairdresser, Terry Watts, who has died aged 69.
Many famous local residents, including film directors and authors, had their hair cut by him over the years, and he was known for his great sense of humour and one-liners.
Terry died of cancer on Saturday, September 24, at St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, Beds.
His son, Mark Watts, said that Terry lived in St Albans his whole life until his retirement a few years ago, and was well known and liked for his T.W. Watts Hairdressers he at The Quadrant in Marshalswick.
The shop is now Phoenix Barber Co, run by Paul Murray.
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Mark, who lives in Hong Kong, added: “He always preferred to be known as a gentleman’s hairdresser rather than a barber!”
He said that Terry “was born in 1947 on The Ridgeway in Marshalswick, just minutes from the site of his future shop. He was in the inaugural intake at [the then] Marshalswick School, now Sandringham, which he left aged 15 to become an apprentice hairdresser. He started his own hairdressing business at the age of 22, and lived in St Albans his whole career, initially living above the shop, then Holywell Hill and Pirton Close.
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“The staff were well known for playing pranks on each other. One year, Terry returned from his summer vacation to find the front of the shop had been dressed to look not like a hairdressers, but an exotic dance venue – a joke that the local council did not find amusing.”
Terry, who moved to Blunham in Beds following his retirement, is survived by his wife Pamela, his sons Mark and Matthew, their wives Nicola and Maria, grandsons James and Theo, and granddaughter Robyn.
Pamela told the Herts Advertiser that his many former clients in St Albans would no doubt recall his “sense of humour and his interest in his customers”.
She said that no matter where their family holidayed in the world, chances were that one of Terry’s customers would be at the same airport and “come and have a chat with us” – an occurrence which used to amuse their children.
Pamela added: “I would like to thank all those who helped look after him. He put up a really good fight.”
Paul Murray, who started working for Terry about 20 years ago, paid tribute for being a “mentor who slowly drew the best of me out by example, and for this I shall be eternally thankful.
“It must stand as testament to his character that the majority of his employees were in his employment for many years.
“He had a devastatingly sharp wit, but never used it unfairly or unkindly. Terry led by example – in the 47 years that he stood behind his chair, he didn’t take a single day off due to sickness.
“Terry was a ‘traditional’ barber, a gentleman’s hairdresser. When he started working at The Quadrant much of Marshalswick was new, and the customers who soon made up the clientele were loyal to Terry for the next 40 years.”
A funeral service will take place at 1.45pm next Thursday, October 13, at the Bedford Crematorium. Pamela said that “anyone who knew Terry is more than welcome” to attend the service.