Moving into the Clocktower — Tony Wood Before Tony Wood Hair

One of the clocktower showrooms, prior to Tony moving in

One of the clocktower showrooms, prior to Tony moving in

As the eighties gave way to the nineties and a young Tony Wood first found himself in Castle Road, he was initially quite apprehensive of the foreboding Alf Fleming. Alf ran Fleming’s Antiques, a decades-old family business, from the clocktower.

The antiques trade had previously been located across the street, but on January 10th 1941, it was hit during one of the most intense Blitz raids of the Second World War.

Alf’s uncle, Jack Fleming, bought the clocktower and moved the antiques business in while Portsmouth was recovering from the attacks. Alf continued trading from the clocktower’s basement until December 1st 2015.

This video brilliantly recounts the story:

Tony’s confidence strengthened as his salon grew, and his nervousness about Alf distilled into a sense of respect. Their friendship was born. Tony started popping into Alf’s clocktower shop for a chat almost every single day. Around the same time, word of Tony’s hunt for a new space for his thriving salon had hit the street, reaching Alf’s ears.

Eventually, Alf offered Tony the chance to buy the clocktower from him!

“I was so scared. It was such a big move, but I’ve never been afraid of a gamble, so I shook Alf’s hand and signed the dotted line. I remember many people warning me not to go through with it! But I shut my salon and saved for the chance to own this beautiful building. Funds were limited, but I was determined to do the old clocktower proud.

Alf (left) with Tony (right)

Alf (left) with Tony (right)

“It hit me when I moved in that there were no bloody walls! Where was I going to hang the mirrors?! The solution? Cut hair around a table, like a dinner party.”

It’s this sideways type of thinking that’s pushed Tony’s business forward and helps him keep his brand, interior, and marketing fresh and ahead of the pack.

Oh, and the new salon was named United Salons. The ‘US’ brand was in place until 2013, when Tony finally decided to put his own eponymous legacy above the door…