Beatles haircuts ‘unsightly, unsafe, unruly, and unclean’ – archive, 6 December 1963

6 December 1963 Young engineer back at work after suspension for sporting a Beatles-style haircut

Thomas Charnock (16) returns to work as an apprentice at a Birkenhead factory today after a two-week suspension imposed because he had a Beatles-style haircut.

Thomas, of Pasture Road, Moreton, a first year apprentice at the K.W.K. engineering factory, at Park Street, Birkenhead, was told along with other apprentices by the managing director, Mr William Kaminski, to get his hair cut properly. Mr Kaminski said Beatles haircuts were unsightly, unsafe, unruly, and unclean.

The Beatles’ landmark 1966 LP ‘Revolver,’ released the same month the band toured America for the last time, was crowned the greatest album of rock ‘n’ roll in a survey of musicians and critics in 2001.
The Beatles’ landmark 1966 LP ‘Revolver,’ released the same month the band toured America for the last time, was crowned the greatest album of rock ‘n’ roll in a survey of musicians and critics in 2001. Photograph: HO/Reuters

The other apprentices had their hair clipped, but Thomas refused and was suspended. Mr Kaminski said yesterday: “I am proud of my apprentices and I am determined they are going to walk around looking respectable. One day they are going to be fully qualified precision engineers able to command high salaries. They must learn to dress properly.”

‘Lovely hair’
Mr Kaminski said he had the support of most parents. “I am concerned that they should have conventional styles because of the danger of long or unusual hair becoming entangled in machinery with which they work.”

Thomas, who is still keen to continue his apprenticeship and has attended technical college during the suspension, said: “I think my hair is perfectly all right, but I have had it trimmed and hope there will be no more trouble.” His grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth Charnock, with whom he lives, said: “I do not understand what all the fuss is about. He has a lovely head of hair.”