Search

Radical barber Pat back in business after Balls Pond Road fire that cost him his salon and home

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 January 2017

Pat unpacks his 'barber shop in a backpack' for the Gazette's photographer. Picture: Polly Hancock

Pat unpacks his 'barber shop in a backpack' for the Gazette's photographer. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A barber whose Balls Pond Road salon was destroyed by a fire in November is back in business – despite the fact the blaze made him homeless.

The scene of the blaze in Balls Pond Road in November. Picture: Catherine BethuneThe scene of the blaze in Balls Pond Road in November. Picture: Catherine Bethune

Pat Rudman, 71, now runs his business through word of mouth and he posts leaflets advertising his haircuts at bus stops when he can afford to print them from internet cafes.

“Will I open another shop? Of course I will,” Pat said. “But agents want one to two months’ rent in advance and that could take six months to a year to get.”

He charges £4 plus travel costs for his haircuts.

He also claims to have cut Islington North MP and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s hair at one time.

Pat's salon before the fire. Picture: Richard PreddyPat's salon before the fire. Picture: Richard Preddy

He said: “It was over 10 years ago when his hair was long like a hippie. He was one of my first customers.”

Azam Khorasani, 35 and unemployed, of Caledonian Road, has been Pat’s loyal customer and friend for 10 years.

“Pat stays with me every now and again and I just try and assist him any way I can,” he told the Gazette.

Pat carries the tools of his trade on his back, calling it his “barber shop in a backpack”. His toolbox includes a razor, scissors, gloves, a cape, cream and WD-40 for good measure.

Pat with his mobile salon. Picture: Polly HancockPat with his mobile salon. Picture: Polly Hancock

His left wrist still has the band Homerton Hospital gave him when he was admitted with burns following the fire that damaged his business.

The salon was known for the radical messages neatly inked on its shopfront.

One of those messages referred to the “pro-good revolution”, which shares Pat’s initials.

The building was also Pat’s home: he lived, and made food for the homeless, in the back behind a curtain.

“I was preparing food when I smelled gas and heard the fire alarm,” he said. “I pulled the curtain back and all I could see was fire.”

He still carries his charred mobile phone as a reminder.

“I don’t ask for charity, but people have helped me,” he said – showing the Gazette a new phone he was given.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Islington Gazette