Peter Collinge Awarded OBE in 2012 Honours
Chairman of Andrew Collinge Hairdressing
“It was a great surprise and a great honour to hear that I would be receiving an award. It is also a credit to our company and the many young hairdressers we have trained over the years. We wouldn’t be the company we are today without our loyal clientele, some families have been clients for three generations.
I have been hairdressing for 70 years; I paid 25 guineas for an apprenticeship when I started in hairdressing and it has been a wonderful career for me.
I have simply carried this on. Investing in young people and providing them with a great training has been the backbone of our company and made it strong. We have trained thousands of hairdressers over the years, some have worked for us and others have opened their own salons. I am proud to have contributed to Liverpool in this way.” Peter Collinge.
“Peter Collinge is one of the great hairdressers of our time. The business he founded 60 years ago is one of the most respected hairdressing companies in the UK. During an illustrious career he has always been at the forefront of innovative ideas that have helped shaped the hairdressing industry. The beliefs and standards he introduced into hairdressing training have ensured thousands of young people have gone on to fulfil successful careers in their own right. Even today with youth unemployment at it’s highest this commitment continues as hundreds of teenagers benefit from Collinge training.” Andrew Collinge.
Peter Collinge, born 1927, commenced his apprenticeship at the age of 14 at Symonds Hairdressing, Richmond St, Liverpool in 1942.
His father Wilfred previously started his career 100 years ago in 1910 as a trainee barber in 1910. Wilfred went on to work for many years in the merchant navy as a barber on the Apapa, sailing out of Liverpool.
In 1945 and at the age of 17 Peter himself went to sea and joined the Mauretania, a magnificent transatlantic liner, which at the time had been commissioned by the navy.
Whilst working on board the Mauretania in the post war years he perfected his hairdressing skills by styling the hair for G.I. brides, Wrens and other service woman returning back home to countries as far a field as the USA and Australia. When the Mauretania was eventually refitted to its original luxurious decor and put back into commercial service by Cunard, Peter continued to work on the ship’s transatlantic crossings from Liverpool to New York. With a High Society passenger list of the rich and famous including stars such as Elizabeth Taylor it was certainly exciting times for everyone after the war years.
In 1949 Peter returned to shore and started working at his parents salon in West Derby, Liverpool. However he soon got involved with competition hairdressing, which at the time was very popular and attracted the great names within the industry such as Xavier Wenger, Silvio Camillo, Pip Evangelista . Peter had a obvious talent for creating innovative styles and in a matter of a couple of years won numerous competitions within the UK and at European events.
His regular model for his competitions was Hazel, a young primary school teacher who he went on to marry in 1951. They have now been married for 60 years. The competition styles he created for Hazel were very neat and beautifully crafted and were quite unique from some of the very elaborate heads on display. His work proved popular with the judges and was admired by fellow competitors including a young up and coming stylist at the time, a certain Vidal Sassoon.
In the early years of the Fellowship of Hair Artists of Great Britain the criteria for membership was being a successful competition hairdresser and in 1950 Peter was invited to join. As a fellowship member he was often asked to judge at many prestigious competitions including the World Championships in New York and Vienna. In 1974 Peter was elected President of the organisation.
The first Peter Collinge salon opened in Liverpool in 1952, with Hazel on reception and Peter in constant demand with his growing list of clients. In the early 60′s with the Beatles and clubs such as the Cavern making Liverpool the music capitol of the world, it was certainly an exciting city to work in and it wasn’t long before more Peter Collinge salons opened. Peter worked for over 50 years on the salon floor. He also demonstrated at hairshows and seminars as new technology and techniques was changing the face of modern hairdressing.
In 1974 Peter Collinge training was established. Over the years thousands of young stylists have been trained either by Peter himself or by tutors who themselves started with the company. The training division, now under the direction of Sarah Collinge is one of the most respected in the UK and has received Beacon status from the Government.
In the early 80′s Peter had the vision to open Graduate Salons for recently qualified stylists and those still in training. These salons not only cater to the ever changing demands within hairdressing training but also offer hairdressing to clients, particularly students, at affordable prices.
It is no understatement to say that Peter Collinge is a legend within the city of Liverpool, not only to the countless clients he personally looked after but also to all those hairdressers he has trained and who have gone on to achieve great things themselves within the industry.
Today the company trades under the name of Andrew Collinge Hairdressing, with salons throughout the North West of England including two Graduate Training Salons. As Chairman, Peter keeps a watchful eye as the Award winning group goes from strength to strength. Under the direction of Andrew, Sarah and Liz Collinge and a dedicated team, the company is now involved in many areas of the industry.
In recent years a new flagship salon opened on Castle St, Liverpool. In 2008 the salon was voted by HAIR magazine as Best Salon in the UK.
2009 saw the opening of a stunning new Graduate Salon and training college within one impressive building at 99 Bold St. The Graduate training concept founded by Peter Collinge has received critical acclaim as one of the leading work placed training providers in the UK. In 2010 Christina Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of OFSTED visited the Bold St. salon to see for herself how the company’s apprentice programme was producing some of the best young hairdressers in the country. She said “There is no reason why all apprenticeships and work-based learning can’t be outstanding and I hope Collinge Training will be a source of inspiration to others”
Even in these challenging time hundreds of young people are today being trained at the Graduate Salons to the beliefs and standards set by Peter Collinge.
In 2010 as a member for 60 years The Fellowship of British Hairdressing awarded Peter Collinge the highest honour they can bestow, the Gold Medal, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the hairdressing industry and to recognise being the longest serving member of the organisation.Peter Collinge and BBC Radio Merseyside's Roger Phillips