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My West Hampstead: Governor of the Bank of England’s barber speaks about Mark Carney’s first visit

14:04 05 March 2014

Prodromos Prodromou

Prodromos Prodromou

Archant

Prodromos Prodromou has been the owner of Mill Lane Barbers in West Hampstead for 12 years and is a well-known voice in the community.

The father-of-two cuts the hair of many notable residents, including new West Hampstead resident and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney.

What brought you to West Hampstead?

I was drawn to West Hampstead and Mill Lane in particular because it is a good quality, affluent and densely populated residential area. At the time I opened in 2002 there was a distinct lack of barbering options for men. I felt there was an opportunity to establish a local barber shop to serve all male members of the community.

When you look back at what the area was like when you first moved in, how has it changed?

Positive changes have occurred in respect to the strength of the local community. There are many forums for residents to voice their views and help them meet and network with one another.

The less good changes are the rising number of corporates like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

We have seen an increase in rents and a reduction in the variety of businesses operating.

Also, every spare bit of land - however small - is targeted for development and what springs up is often messy and ill thought out.

If you were guest editor of the Ham & High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

As a business on Mill Lane, I would say Pay and Display parking spaces need to be highlighted.

These are in the main dual purpose as they can be used by visitors but also by permit holders.

Most of the bays are permanently occupied throughout the day by permit holders, rendering their use by visitors almost impossible.

Many clients who want to use the businesses on Mill Lane often circle for 10 to 15 minutes unable to find a place to park and eventually give up trying to use the businesses.

Who is the most notable person you have coming into your barber? What do you talk about?

Governor of the Bank of England and West Hampstead resident Mark Carney’s first visit made the national press.

Interest rates have been a hot topic recently and Mr Carney has been a man very much in the news.

He is a very down-to-earth and personable man - I can’t imagine previous Governors’ walking down to their local, non-appointment based barber shop.

With all of our clients, as I told Hugh Pym the BBC’s chief economics correspondent, a barber’s greatest quality is his discretion.

Which other place in the world would you twin with West Hampstead if you could?

My son came home from school one day and said: “Dad, do you know we are in the top five per cent of the world’s population because we have clean running water, food on the table, a roof over our head and a bed to sleep in?”

West Hampstead residents, in the main, are affluent and prosperous, enjoying most of the trappings of a good life.

I would therefore twin West Hampstead with any one of a number of poor African towns.

As a community we could have a very direct and positive impact on such a town and remind us how very lucky we are.

What makes you smile as you walk to work?

Walking to the shop in the morning I smile because I actually look forward to my working day.

Wondering which of our many colourful, interesting and larger-than-life characters will pop in for a haircut and a chat.

Our client base includes actors, musicians, accountants, lawyers, sportsmen and many more.

All have a different story to tell.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

Epitaphs are for others to write but i would hope mine may include “A good man, doting husband, caring son, loving father, attentive brother, wicked uncle and supportive friend”.

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