Barber shop in a backpack

Outside Pat Rudman’s shop. Pic: Evgeniya Dolina

A barber who lost his salon in a fire has pledged to continue with his hair-cutting business despite being homeless for two months.

Pat Rudman, 71, saw the business he had been running for 23 years in Balls Pond Road go up in smoke in a fire that destroyed his barbershop on November 2.

Not only did he cut hair for the homeless, but he would also arrange food for them. The salon served as both his workplace and his home.

Now Rudman is back in business but this time goes to his customers using what he calls his “barber shop in a backpack” He still charges only £4 per a haircut including his travel costs and advertises it through word of mouth and leaflets, which he occasionally prints from Internet cafes.

The salon was known for radical political messages on its outside walls. According to the London Fire Brigade website, the fire is most likely to have been caused by a discarded cigarette. However, a notice hung on the burnt out building suggests the fire was started deliberately.

“I still haven’t fully recovered from the fire. I am out of the hospital now, but I still feel quite bad, “ Pat said to East London Lines. “They tried to kill me, these people who don’t agree with me that we all are equal.. It is really hard to get all the pieces back together now.”

Rudman’s close friend and loyal customer Azam Khorasani told East London Lines that the barber was currently staying at a friends’ house. “He thinks someone set his shop on fire, someone who did not agree with his philosophy and his desire to help homeless and vulnerable. “

According to Azam, Rudman has already started looking for a new place to open a salon. Establishing a new barbershop due to financial challenges could take up to a year, In the meantime, mobile haircutting is his core business.

Notice outside shop. Pic: Evgeniya Dolina

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