Dorothy Lister’s work as a hairdresser

Dorothy Lister was interviewed by Shonagh, a pupil at Burghead Primary School as part of a project about Fishing and their local community.

Dorothy  Lister was hairdresser apprentice in Glasgow in 1958 she was 14 when she got the job.

Liberace source wikicommons by Allan Warren

Liberace  in 1968 Source: Wikicommons by Allan Warren

” I had always wanted to a hairdresser. I was training for 5 years. It cost my dad 100 guineas to do the training as a hairdresser. The man I worked for was world famous .I worked the 5 past Eight Show Girls hair. I met lots of famous people, Kenneth McKellar’s wife, Shirley Bassey and I helped perm Liberace’s  hair. No-one had to know he had a perm, men didn’t in those days. I was given an envelope with £5 in it to keep my mouth shut!! I met my husband there. He was with my employer’s daughter  (a girlfriend).  I pinched him, married him and its lasted 51 years!!??

Holidays-Saturday afternoon and Sunday and 2 weeks off
Wage £1  9 /-  4d  and good tips! I had to give my mum my wage and I got a few shillings back.
Working day- I start at 9 am in Glasgow. I got tea break when you could Didn’t get lunch and finished at 6:30pm. Washed hair and coloured hair and then after 3 years of training perming hair. After 5 years I was qualified. I loved it ! It was tiring but glamorous and I modelled for my boss. Very long hours and didn’t dare complain! Saw how the over half lived.

Perming was unreal, little square sachets full of substance that was clamped over each  curler and up to a machine and heated hair to curl. It was not safe. I got burnt a lot and we cut hair with an open razor so cuts from that.

Training for the job – I went to a night school to get my diploma. 

I did lots of people’s hair to earn more money but if I was not doing people’s hair I would be at the cinema. I worked for 2 salons then ran one.  Married did neighbours’ hair in the spare room in our flat.

My husband has his own business in engineering and I helped with that for several  years. He did business abroad and I had lots of foreign house guests.  I found that very interesting went to Holland to attend a customers son’s wedding and that was very different from weddings here.

We bought a large guest house in Fort Augustus at Loch Ness. We could sleep 23 people so that sure was hard work. Once again I loved meeting the visitors mostly tourists come to see Nessie! I still hear from a few now 14 years later. ”

Dorothy Lister from Burghead was interviewed by Shonagh, a pupil at Burghead Primary School.

Additional Information

Scottish Cinema website has an image of the Alhambra Theatre before it was demolished in 1971.

A website describing the history of the Alhambra theatre

The Five Past Eight Show was shown on Scottish Television during the 1960s.
Details of the stage layout of the show which was filmed at the Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow.

Scottish Music Hall Information about the  Five Past Eight Show and a online article on the Herald website describing why the theatre closed.

A fascinating presentation about the Alhambra during the 1950s and 60s hidden in the minutes of a meeting of the Old Glasgow Club on Thursday 12th January 2012.

Glasgow Story Website has a great poster of the Five Past Eight Show


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