Ossie’s: Camden Town barber has cut hair for 45 years
New look for traditional barber shop in Parkway
26 June, 2019 — By Richard Osley
A BARBER who set up his first shop when he was a teenager is celebrating 45 years of cutting hair.
Ossie Mehmet has marked his long service with the scissors by refurbishing his shop in Parkway, Camden Town.
He said: “I still enjoy it every day, getting up early and working, because the clients are like friends, they feel welcome here. I learned to cut hair when I was 12, and had my own shop in a village in the north of Cyprus when I was 15 – I was standing on crates of Pepsi cola bottles to reach, but people kept coming back and I have been a barber ever since.”
Mr Mehmet’s shop includes a wall of famous faces who have sat in his chair, including former Arsenal player Robin van Persie, Suggs from the band Madness and playwright Alan Bennett.
One of his most regular customers, however, is the journalist and former News At Ten newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald.
“I first cut his hair when I was 19 and I had a shop in Holloway,” he said. “He had stayed over in the area and went into a newsagent or somewhere and asked where he could get a haircut – and they said ‘go to Ossie’s’. He came in, we started talking and he’s been coming back ever since.”
Mr Mehmet is also well known to a host of BBC radio stars who used to visit him when he ran another shop near Broadcasting House in Portland Place. The radio 2 DJ Steve Wright recently mentioned him on air.
“Everybody is welcome,” said Mr Mehmet, whose shop has been extended at the back and has a traditional chequerboard floor and new décor.
He works alongside his son Erol, and after work they can often be found at the Emirates Stadium following their beloved Arsenal.
Erol said: “I remember sweeping up the hair when I was a kid, so I guess I was always going to end up doing this. Things have changed in Parkway, we have a few more of the chains moving in, but we are one of the remaining independent businesses still going – which I think is what the street, this part of Camden was all about.”
He added: “We’ve made some changes to the shop, but we’ve kept that traditional barber feel.”
Ossie added: “I had my first shop in Holloway in 1974, so it’s 45 years, but if you count the time I was cutting hair in Cyprus, it’s actually 50. I don’t want to stop.”