Why Isn’t this Iconic Fremantle Business valued?
Last year we drew your attention to the iconic Norm Wrightson’s hairdressers in William Street, which was slated for removal to another location without the owner’s knowledge or consent – to be replaced by a brewery (right outside the front door of the Town Hall).
The owner won the battle to stay where he is, for now. The Fremantle Society campaigned to save the iconic business and to have Gerard O’Brien of Silverleaf restore the shop to its original glory as shown in the photograph above. With support from Cr Archibald, a former President of the Fremantle Society (and Mayor), council approved allowing Silverleaf to spend the $100,000 percent for art money putting back the wonderful ornate verandah shown in the image, instead of ugly public art like the three metal poles nearby which Silverleaf had to pay for as part of their as yet still unfinished Atwell Arcade project.
But the owner of Norm Wrightson’s is distraught with what he sees as bullying from Silverleaf, whose construction works are affecting his business. He alleges that workmen are trespassing on his business premises without the required permission being sought.
The top photograph shows recent damage to his rented premises.
Norm Wrightson’s has been a barber shop since 1933 in this location. 86 years. The first business in that building was the famous photographer shown above, who lasted there for over 40 years.
Norm Wrightson grew up upstairs in the building, and by age 13 was helping his father in the barbershop cutting kids’ hair. During the war there were no shopfronts- the windows being taken out and boarded up in case of air raids. After the war when Norm took over from his father he employed Italian hairdressers to help him. He called them “Ding” and they called him “Aussie Bugga”.
The current owner of the business Morteza is not paying high rent to make money. Business is tough. He is passionate about the history of Fremantle, and wants to see the traditional barbershop with great haircuts, shaves and flat tops continue. That is why he is battling Silverleaf and trying to survive.
Why isn’t this iconic business valued? Why isn’t he feted and offered a long lease? As businessman, and Fremantle Society committee member, Mike Finn said: “An iconic business like this needs to be nurtured and given concessions.”
Book a haircut: 9335 3546
Meet Your Committee Dinner
Have you booked your half price dinner for Tuesday 20 August 7pm at the Federal Hotel?
Royal George Hotel
See Fremantle Herald (p3) August 10 for report on East Fremantle Council meeting on Royal George Hotel.