During the Covid pandemic the closure of hairdressers and barbershops forced many of us to attempt a little DIY grooming. After all, how hard could it be? As we attacked our hair and beards with gusto, it quickly transpired that barbering is in fact a highly skilled profession best left to the experts – as evidenced by the unfortunate hairdos and beard disasters we were left sporting as a result of our own overconfidence.

We really should have known better – after all, barbering and barber shops have existed for millennia, and current trends in personal grooming means barbering has seen a renaissance in recent years. As long as there has been hair, there has been a barber to see to it, which means the profession is as old as civilisation itself. But there’s a little more to it than just a short back and sides, as history has proved.