Barber ‘Scratchie’ wins Wilkinson Award

  • From left: Rosheena Beek, Earlston

The 93-year-old owner of a barbershop that has become an institution was yesterday honoured with the first award for business leaders in the Court Street area.

Earlston “Scratchie” Lawrence, whose Angle Street barbershop has been a Hamilton landmark for decades, was recognised along with Rosheena Beek, owner of the Nubian Nook bookstore and the Spinning Wheel, represented by Noel Hodgson.

The winners of the first Priscilla Wilkinson awards, named after the late Court Street entrepreneur, gathered at Scratchie’s Barber Shop before the ceremony at 6pm on Monday at the Progressive Labour Party headquarters on Court Street.

Now-retired Mr Lawrence, who worked in the shop for 68 years, said: “I found that I had a good touch for it — I enjoyed it, and people enjoyed coming here.

“I called myself the barber that gave customers the profile that they needed. I could change peoples’ features the way that they wanted. That was my trademark.”

“Scratchie” turns 94 later this month, and is largely retired from the business. He explained: “My fingers are starting to let me down.”

Colleague Theodosia Lambert, who has been cutting hair at Scratchie’s for 51 years, said Mr Lawrence was what she missed the most since his retirement.

Ms Lambert, who got into barbering from cutting her son Preston’s hair, cherished working at the cosy shop with its walls lined with pictures and mementos.

Ms Wilkinson, who owned significant amounts of real estate in the area, was nicknamed the Queen of Court Street and the award in her name was set up by former PLP minister Dale Butler to honour the entrepreneurs of the Pembroke Central constituency.

Ms Beek’s business is a newcomer to the area and started up earlier this year.

She told The Royal Gazette: “I’m honoured by this — I’ve done a lot of work in the community in terms of filming and writing. To be able to serve in this aspect, it’s almost like coming full circle.”

Mr Hodgson said The Spinning Wheel stands on a section of Court Street that Ms Wilkinson once owned.

He added: “I’m here for our club and for the proud workers of Constituency 17.

“I’m also representing the Spinning Wheel founders: Charles C. Burgess, Gladwin Ming and Victor Paris.

“As I say and still say, it’s the best place in Bermuda. It’s been there kicking on the door of 50 years now, and I’m very proud to be here accepting this award on behalf of the people’s club.”