Alex at Cut Through and links with the Cellar

The Cellar community is delighted that Alex has taken over the old Cellar premises in Crown Court and we are already enjoying a relationship of shared promotion and service to the local community.

Talking to Alex I have found that we have many coincidental warm links through family and patients from my days as a local GP. He has done a marvelous job in converting the café into a state of the art barber’s parlour with a freshness and vitality that is buzzing with new life. Interestingly the décor includes two large beer barrels which not only adds to the male ambiance but is reminiscent of our ‘Cellar’ café days and as you can see barrels are a feature of our old letterhead!

Alex has chosen a very interesting brand name ‘Cut Through’ which does justice to the prime location and cut through from Crown Court car park to the High Street. The name has triggered my memory bank regarding the link between the surgical profession and barbers which is quite fascinating and you may be interested to know that surgeons being called Mr is a historic link to barber surgeons! Not only were the original barber surgeons excellent cutters of hair but also being so dexterous and useful with a knife (I remember the leather strop and cut throat razor from my childhood!) were able to perform surgical procedures!

Herewith two extracts from ‘tinternet’!

‘A barber surgeon was a person who could perform surgical procedures including bloodletting, cupping therapy (suction cups on the skin), pulling teeth, and amputation. Barbers could also bathe, cut hair, shave or trim facial hair, and give enemas! The surgeon came with the army at war but could be used by individuals in peacetime. ‘

‘Due to religious and sanitary monastic regulations, monks had to maintain their tonsure (the traditional baldness on the top of the head of Catholic monks). This created a market for barbers, because each monastery had to train or hire a barber. They would perform bloodletting and other minor surgeries like pulling teeth or creating ointments. The first barber surgeons to be recognized as such worked in monasteries around 1000 A.D.’

My Loseley ‘monastic’  colleague, Brother Christopher from the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, informs me that the monasteries had blood pits and blood- letting by surgeon barbers was a regular occurrence as this was thought at the time to be a healthy practice and cure for many illnesses.

Surgeons were rather looked down upon by doctors in years gone by and were trained in an apprenticeship model rather than academic one and the Barber Surgeons Hall in London was a place of training for both surgeons and barber surgeons and hence the name Mr arose as opposed to Dr.The Barber Surgeons Hall was in fact in large part the fore-runner of the Royal College of Surgeons of England!

A lecture at the Barber Surgeons Hall London.

The barber’s pole signified blood and bandaging!

I have been struck by the ‘healing’ work that barbers and hairdressers do through their listening skills, kindness, intimate dexterous cutting of hair follicles and the gentle accepting relationship. I have received much good advice and counsel while sitting in the barber’s chair. ‘Surrendering’ to the hands of the barber in a mysterious way is healing in itself and having to trust the handiwork of the operator is akin to submitting to a surgical procedure. Many healing therapies involve either scalp massage or head and neck touch and manipulation. Alex continues in this noble profession and I believe that you will receive more than a haircut but healing therapy too at his hands.

No doubt he will have had to deal with many pudding basins and shaggy dogs as after-effects of lock down and one of our Cellar trustees has been attacked by his wife with dog clippers but with rather good effect!

The Cellar community strongly endorses Alex’s work and service in Crown Court and he is kindly letting us store our modest street ministry kit in the old place in the outside cupboard.

You will receive more than a haircut at Alex’s hands! Miracles do happen but don’t ask for hair restoration as Alex is comfortable not only in his own skin but under his glowing crown!

So come and receive a new crown and more besides!

The Cellar will shortly be moving to our new home in close proximity and will continue to serve the needy folk of our local community including those with special needs or mental illness. Alex may hear the strains of Rock Gospel music in the background from Crown Court on occasions. We prayerfully offer him our heartfelt blessing.

Dr Chris Jagger MBE

Chair of Warehouse Christian Trust  – Cellar and Skillway projects
Member of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine


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