The barber of seville and Ladybrook

Roger Brown, now and then
Roger Brown with Frank Carson

Firstly, I would like to say that any spelling errors bad grammar or attempts to be amusing are all intended.

Roger Brown the barber in Ladybrook is finally hanging up his scissors after 55 yes Fifty-five years. He started there in 1965 as a young man and is retiring at the end of august as a (lets be kind) mature distinguished gentleman. The first photo is a very difficult spot the difference puzzle. I have known Roger since the late forties when our families moved on to Bancroft Lane into the first houses that were built at Ladybrook. We lived three doors from each other and we have been friends ever since. He served his 3-year apprenticeship at Oscroft’s on Outram street in Sutton then 2 years on Huthwaite road and finally to Ladybrook. But the story could have been so different due to an almost life changing incident when we were kids. We were about 12, his parents were out and we were messing about with a catapult and some marbles he accidently fired it towards the radio and smashed the glass his response was oh my god me dad’s gunner kill me but he survived and the story goes on.

In the forties his family had ties with Racheal Manners at the Westfield Folk house. It was her family home and she gave it to the youth of Mansfield for recreation activities. Rogers mother founded the Folk house brownies, she was Brown owl for over fifty years and she was involved with the folk house from the beginning. Roger was in the annual pantomime back in the days when it was held in a hut in the Folk house grounds. It later moved to the Palace Theatre and this started his lifelong involvement with productions at the Theatre. He was a member and committee member of many of the amateur societies, The Mansfield operatic society, the Penson Players, The Phoenix players to name but a few. He also appeared in many of the musicals and productions (although I am not sure he was ever in the barber of Seville has the heading suggests.) He was the front of house manager at the Palace for many years and he met all of the celebrities that stared there including Norman Wisdom, Jethro, frank Carson and Ken Dodd. They usually had a wind down drink after the show and he told me that Frank Carson liked a drink or three, it was only polite to keep up with him and these nights are a vague drunken memory.

He was also the chairman of governors at Ethel Wainwright school for 10 years so you could say he has done his bit for entertainment and education in Mansfield.

Any way back his day job, in 55 years at his shop at Ladybrook it would be easy to estimate  how many times he has opened up at the shop. More difficult to work out how many haircuts he has done and it beggars’ belief how many miles he has covered walking round that chair. You could say he has been walking round in circles and getting nowhere for 60 years. Has well as a barber’s it was also a drop-in centre where you could have a natter, a laugh, a moan and put the world to right’s you could have a drink, read the paper and pick your winners, or get away from the wife for a while, there was always something going on. To sit there and listen to the patter was entertaining in itself. If a youngster or pensioner came in, as it was cheaper, they got how can I make a living with kids and pensioners. If you were bald on top it was would you like a wide parting in the middle, if you wore glasses it was that’s a lot better now but don’t put them on until you get home. I was waiting one day when a young lad with very long curly hair sat down and after Roger had asked if he would need to have gas to ease the pain and he might have to charge double, half way through he suddenly said Bl—– hell I’ve just fond your school cap. My dad, myself and my three sons have all gone to rogers, that’s three generations and I am sure that many families in Ladybrook can say the same. That’s a lot of people in Mansfield either from his shop, from the Westfield folk house or his long involvement with the Palace theatre, that know Roger.

We will all miss going to Rogers, he has been a pillock, sorry pillar of the community and we all wish him all the best in his retirement.

Alan Bridges

Comments about this page

  • Thanks Alan, I was about right with the location details then? Have visited those shops a few times albeit very many years ago – ’76 in fact during that very hot Summer. The Ladybrook Hotel external frontage was packed with customers and I do believe the premises actually ran out of beer!
    Thanks for the memories. Looking forward to another visit to my home town when things have settled down a bit generally.

    By Steeve Cee (26/08/2020)
  • Hello Steeve
    Rogers barbers is at Ladybrook Place in the shops opposite to the Ladybrook Hotel. There is a post office, chemist, bakery and a few more shops. If you went to the barbers and the door was locked you could usually find my mate Roger in the bookies which has recently closed.

    By Alan Bridges (23/08/2020)
  • Quite a character, although I don’t recall the chap. I had relatives in the Ladybrook area and spent a very short time living there myself. He’s obviously the one that got away from my point of view. Amazing what we can still learn after all these years. Spent some happy hours at the Folk House in my teenage years. The late Frank Carson ‘eh, one of the best. Was the barber shop in the vicinity of the Ladybrook pub / Hotel?

    By Steeve Cee (21/08/2020)

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