Split ends – the warring hairdresser brothers

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1914 Police Court

At the Scarborough County Court before His Honour, Judge Lock, Gregor Mayer, hairdresser, 44 Newborough Street, sued Francis Mayer, hairdresser, Harcourt Place, for £5 5s 8d for wages, commission, wages in lieu of holiday, and damages. There was a counter claim for £6 9s 4d for damage to defendant’s property alleged to have been caused by plaintiff’s negligence.

Mr J Whitfield was for Gregor Mayer and Mr JD Munby for Francis Mayer.

The defendant carried on an extensive business as a hairdresser in Scarborough, and he employed his brother as an assistant. During the time the assistant was engaged he was, some time after he commenced, very negligent, and caused a considerable amount of damage which constituted the counter claim.

Defendant said that his brother, the plaintiff, had thrown furniture about, and witness told him he would have to pay for what he had broken. Through negligence two ebonite roses had been broken by hot water; these cost 14s. He also claimed £2 10s for a lady’s fringe. The fringe should have been put on a line in the yard to dry, but his brother put it on the steps, and witness’s dog got hold of it and damaged it. Another item in the claim was for £1 5s for two ounces of 16-inch hair. This was being dried, and his brother neglected to go and see if it was dry, with the result that the hair had been burnt. A new salon basin had also been put in at a cost of £2 9s. Witness had been 22 years in the trade and he never heard of an assistant smashing a basin in that manner.

His Honour pointed out that witness did not know how the basin was actually broken – he was not there.

Regarding the fringe Mr Whitfield suggested one could be bought for 16s 6d.

The dog which destroyed the hair was about a year old, and was an Airedale terrier. His brother was in charge of the matter, and was responsible.

In respect of the hair, asked if the price was not 3s 6d per ounce?

Witness: Oh, you can get some cheaper. He pointed out that the hair he got was natural curly white hair.

Mr Whitfield: Wasn’t this black hair?

Witness: No, I can produce some which is yellow.

Mr Whitfield: Is that due to the cooking? (loud laughter). He added that natural long white hair cost much more. Replying to further questions witness said that the hair was put into the oven to dry. The basin was not cracked previously.

Plaintiff had said it was cracked previously, and witness said it was not. The basin was broken by plaintiff 
dropping the shampooing roses in it.

Clara Ellen Mayer, wife of the last witness, gave evidence of the fringe being destroyed through plaintiff’s negligence. Witness did not see the hair. Plaintiff told her the dog had torn it to pieces.

Dudley Foster, now of Sunderland, said he was formerly an assistant with Francis Mayer. Each assistant had a basin, and plaintiff’s basin was whole when he was there. He had heard plaintiff complain to his brother about the latter dropping the roses into the 
basin. Mabel Agar, servant with Mr and Mrs Francis Mayer, said she took some hair out of the oven owing to it burning. It was useless.

Mr Whitfield, for Gregor Mayer, urged that there had been no negligence. Regarding the hair the dog destroyed, plaintiff was going to wash it, and he put it on the steps temporarily, the steps being four feet high, and twelve feet away from the dog, which was asleep.

His Honour agreed that there was no case in regard to the basin. As to the hair in the oven, Mr Whitfield said that he put the hair in the oven and left the door open, but in his absence someone had closed the oven door.

Gregor Mayer, plaintiff, said there was only cold water through the ebonite roses. The roses were broken a day or two after each other. Regarding the hair the dog destroyed, he simply left it there while he washed out the basin. He never thought the dog would get up from his sleep and go for the hair, because it had not been fed on hair (laughter).

The Judge found that the allegation that the basin was broken by the plaintiff was not proved. As to the lady’s fringe and burnt hair, Gregor Mayer, plaintiff, was responsible. He found Francis Mayer, defendant, for £1 5s for the fringe, and £1 for the hair which was burnt, on the counter claim, and for plaintiff (Gregor Mayer) for the £5 8s 8d claimed, less the £2 5s awarded in the counter claim.