Fifteen years ago, to mark the millennium, a book was published called Marlborough People – portraits in their own words of some of the people who made Marlborough tick. Now, for Marlborough News Online, the interviewer and editor of those portraits, Ellen Prockter, is revisiting some of those featured in the book – and also finding new subjects for Marlborough People Today.
For her first portrait of this series Ellen interviewed hairdresser Steve Ennis who had featured in the millennium Marlborough People – this is what he told her:
I can’t believe it is fifteen years since Marlborough People – does everyone say that? I’ve had a quick look at the original piece and am quite pleased from the photo that I don’t seem to have changed much – or perhaps I looked older than my years back then.
I’m still enjoying hairdressing, although I’ve moved from Hilliers Yard to The Hair Company in the alleyway next to Lloyds Bank, I think it’s called Ironmonger Lane although the address is 123 High Street. I don’t manage my own salon anymore – people management just wasn’t my scene – I’m far too soft.
We’re all self employed at Hair Company, and that suits me fine. Business is good, and not just for us. Two new salons have opened in recent years and in the past few months three barbers have opened. They all seem to be doing well.
I had just come out of a long term relationship at the Millennium. Not long after I found another partner and we were together for thirteen years. Unfortunately that didn’t work out either but dating is so much easier now, thanks to the internet. That must be the most significant change over recent years.
I’ve been seeing someone for about two and a half months and have got my fingers crossed. I like the security of a long term relationship. I’ve never made any secret of being gay – it’s almost compulsory in this job – and I have never had any problems in the town. I have noticed that a few more people in Marlborough have come out lately.
Working out and going to the gym no longer happens – too old and too lazy. Going to the pub is still my favourite activity – I now drink at The Royal Oak – the atmosphere has really improved since the new managers – Paul and Kirsten – took over.
I had some friends staying at the weekend and they couldn’t believe that we didn’t have a carvery in the town. We could do with a Burger King or McDonalds and something like a Wetherspoons, but it will never happen.
It’s a class thing. Those in control would just say that it wouldn’t be in keeping with the High Street. The High Street seems to cater for people who have moved here recently and not for those families who have been here for generations. So many of the High Street shops seem pointless to me. There are far too many women’s clothes shops and cafés. Bring back Woolworths.
Family is still very important to me. I’m lucky to have my mum still living in Marlborough and one of my sisters and her husband – although their three sons have left home – Australia, London and Swindon. My other sister has recently moved to her husband’s home town of Burnley and my brother and his family live in Pembrokeshire – a lovely part of the world and I like to visit them there as often as I can.
I do worry about the future. I wish I had got on the property ladder in Marlborough but it was always too expensive. One of the downsides of working for yourself is that you don’t get paid when you are ill and the rent still has to be paid.
I’m lucky with my health at the moment, but who knows? I don’t have a pension but my elder sister will be pleased to hear that I have enough savings to bury me!
The original book of Marlborough People is still available at the White Horse Bookshop.