.jump-link{ display:none }

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Sepia Saturday - Hairdresser "Elise"

A  dressing room, a hair decoration  and a disdainful dog?

So what can I make out of this week's prompt photograph
I have chosen to tell  the story of hairdresser "Elise" - or more rightly Elsie Oldham of Blackpool, (1906-1989),  my mother's second cousin. 

 "Bobbing, Shingling, Marcel Waving and Perming", was the promise of hairdresser "Elise" whose business in Blackpool, Lancashire  was advertised in this lovely evocative 1920's "blotter     
Elsie Oldham - "Elise" c. 1920's
Elise's real name was Elsie but perhaps the French adaptation was regarded as more appropriate for a hairdresser.   The business was conducted from the rather less elegant setting of her family home (below) with the large adverts in the windows and on the pole outside. Behind the house were the stables of the family's business of carters and coal merchants.

The Oldham home in Blackpool, Lancashire
with the adverts in the window and  on the garden pole.
Elsie set up her hairdresser's in  about 1926 and it continued until the property was sold in 1975. IMoving into a bungalow, one of the bedrooms was converted into a hairdresser salon, with Elsie working  until shortly before she died in 1989 - by that time the number of customers had dwindled to about three a week all of whom were as old as she was!  When the house was emptied a cupboard was discovered full of bottles of hair dye  in myriad colours - some of it must have been at least 20 or 30 years old!

Elsie's old set of scissors and hair clippers

 The Oldham family of Blackpool, Lancashire  were carters and coal merchants for  three generations - Joseph Prince Oldham (1855-1921), his son John William Oldham (1880-1939) and his granddaughter Elsie (1906-1989), whose husband  Arthur Edward Stuart Smith was also in the family business. 


 Two photographs of the young Elsie - (left) with her grandfather 

Elsie's son Stuart and I are third cousins and share the same Danson great, great grandfather (Henry Danson (1806-1881).  We made contact through my blog and discovered we lived only 50 miles  apart, so it was easy to meet and exchange photographs and memories -  we even discovered  we had been to the same primary school in Blackpool.   With thanks to Stuart for allowing me to tell the family story and to show these images.
Sepia Saturday offers  bloggers the chance to share their history
through the medium of photographs. 

Click HERE to find out how other Sepia Saturday bloggers 
are dressing up this week's prompt.


  1. Did Elsie, aka Elise, have the advertisement custom done to match her own hairdo, or did she match her hairdo to her advertisement? It could be a coincidence, of course, but somehow I suspect not?

  2. You wouldn't believe how many times I read Elise and Elsie before I realized what the difference was.

  3. Well good for her, glamming thngs up a bit; I’m pleased her charges were ‘moderate’ nevertheless.

  4. I enjoyed your story about Elise; she must have seen some changes in hair salon business. She looked lovely as a child and later too; I like her hairdo it suits her face. I think perms were all the rage at the time.

  5. Look at those tools! I see texturing scissors in addition to regular ones. I would love to see what tools she had for giving perms.

  6. What a lovely advertising card, and the hairstyle is a perfect match - Elsie should have displayed one of those in her windows.

  7. I love the advertising blotter. A great selection of hairdressing tools too.

  8. With over 50 years dedicated to hairdressing Elsie/Elise must have had a lot of loyal customers including the three a week towards the end.

  9. These are nice photos. Makes me wonder what one needed to do to qualify for being a hairdresser in those days.

  10. Incredible that she worked for so long. Love that blotter that states that it is a blotter.


Thank you for your comment which will appear on screen after moderation.