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Appeal by family of former department store hairdresser

A family are hoping to trace top-end department store staff who remember working with their hairdresser mother in the 1950s and 60s.

Posted on 25 March 2021

Former hair stylist Irene Leach worked in the salon at Selfridges in Oxford Street, London, from 1955 to 1961. While there, Irene was known as Lesley Browlace to clients and other staff.

She joined as an apprentice, aged 15 and only moved on after she turned 21. 

From 1961 to 1965, Irene worked as a stylist in the hair salon at Rackhams in Birmingham.

Irene died aged 80 on New Year’s Eve, 2020, by which time she was living in Newton, Derbyshire.

Irene’s family believe that during her time working at Selfridges and Rackhams, their mother was exposed to asbestos and now they are trying to trace former colleagues who might remember details about the salons where she was employed, the type of hairdryers used and the day-to-day routines of employees.

There were a number of salon hood style hairdryers which are known to contain asbestos and the family would welcome anyone with information about the types of hairdryers used on the premises or involved in their maintenance, to come forward to assist with enquiries.

Anyone who might be able to help is asked to contact Leigh Day solicitor, Helen Ashton, who represents the family on 01246 386388 or email hashton@leighday.co.uk

Helen Ashton said:

“Irene Leach’s family believe she came into contact with asbestos during the time she worked as a young hairdresser in department store salons in London and Birmingham. They would appreciate any contact from other former employees who might remember working alongside Irene.”

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Helen Ashton

Helen Ashton

Leading Derbyshire, Yorkshire and East Midlands mesothelioma lawyer

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