Local Face: Julian Stevens

  |  Published: Dec 20th 2012

Julian Stevens was born in Aylesbury and spent the first five years of life in Walton Way, with his parents and two older brothers, Barry and Paul. At 11 months he contracted polio and doctors told his parents he would never walk. Luckily they were wrong, although polio did have some effects on him. Julian’s father was a pastry chef and he owned a restaurant and bakery in Aylesbury, the Market Square Restaurant, where both his parents worked. His mother’s father, Randolph Burgess, died in the first world war and his name is on the war memorial in the market square. His paternal grandfather came to Aylesbury from London and set up a building firm, with offices at The Red Lion in Kingsbury Square. They moved to Weston Turville when he was five, to an old house with a large garden, which Julian thought was wonderful. There were several sheds in the garden, some of which were unsafe, as he found out when he fell through the roof of one and broke his arm. They used to build carts with wood and pram wheels and race them down Halton Road, pulling into the wooded area at the bottom. Sometimes they would look behind to see a double-decker bus following them down the road : far less traffic and far fewer health and safety rules in those days, and a lot more tolerance. Julian attended Weston Turville village school. The head teacher Mr Lawton had been at the school for many years and had taught the parents of a lot of the children there, and Julian recalls that he called most of them by their parents’ names! From there he attended the John Colet. He enjoyed school, but confesses it was probably more social than academic. When Julian was twelve his mother died, which he says was a very difficult time for them all. Aged 15 he left school and had to decide on a career so became an apprentice hairdresser to George Reed in Aylesbury with a grand wage of £2.50 a week. The business was then sold to John Hart and Julian finished his apprenticeship with him. In his early 20’s he began working for Jose and Rafael in Wendover. They returned to live in Spain, and sold Julian the business. It was a big decision for him to make, because the year before he had married and they were living in a bed-sit, sharing a kitchen and bathroom, saving for the deposit for a house. The savings were used for the salon, with his two brothers-in-law acting as guarantors to the bank. Julian and his wife did manage to buy a house later. They have since moved three times and have three grown up children. The rest, as they say, is history. Julian has worked in Wendover ever since and says he has been very lucky with staff. Most of the girls who worked for him did so for a long time. Tracey and Shelley work part-time now, they started their apprenticeships there, have married, had children, and returned. Julian believes he is lucky to work in Wendover. He has many long-standing customers, some who have moved away come back just to have their hair cut! When he was recovering from surgery recently his loyal staff and customers kept everything going. Julian’s parting words were, “Well, that’s enough about me, are you going anywhere nice for your holiday this year?”

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