Friday, January 27, 2023

Is this sign “racist?”

THE SIGN IN THE window of the Cutting Edge Hair Salon on Brentwood Road, Chadwell St Mary states: “Only English Spoken On These Premises”.

It has always been rumoured to be some form of urban myth that there are various hair salons with similar signs dotted around the borough but to this date, nobody could give any form of documentary evidence.

Concerned residents contacted YT.

We found out that Thurrock’s anti-racism organisation TRUST had already been up to the shop.

A spokesperson said: “Thurrock Council’s Environmental Health contacted TRUST to check the shop in Chadwell St Mary who had a notice on her window saying “Only English Spoken On These Premises”. They felt it constituted racism. We went to visit the owner/manager who was very unhappy about the visit and quietly aggressive.

“She stated very clearly that she was not breaking the law as the wording was approved by her barrister and she was not prepared to take the notice down. As we are not an enforcing agency we contacted environmental health and suggested that they contact Corporate Diversity for further advice.

YourThurrock has spent over a week contacting the Diversity Unit but have had no response.

We visited the shop. The one person working there refused to give their name or the name of the manageress/proprietor. We gave them our card and requested an interview but have not heard back.

The key question is whether it can be interpreted as “racist” or indeed “prejudicial”

One legal expert said: “It could be interpreted as a piece of public information. Of course if you follow it logically, if you can’t speak english then you are hardly going to be able to understand the sign. So, it does beg the question as to who is the sign designed for.”


  1. What a waste of time, public monies and resources investigating this sign in our local shop!
    What happened to the owners human rights and freedom of speech?
    As it happens the owner has had problems with understanding foreigners trying to communicate with non English speaking Eastern Europeans.
    Enouther mole-hill being made into a mountain!

  2. I am certain that the Hairdresser has better things to do – in skills – than NIT picking like this. It is relevant. Hairdressers have to be careful about COMMUNICATION to avoid ending up in a Claims Court for giving the wrong process to client’s hair – so it is NOT a controversial sign at all. Typical Thurrock mentality.

  3. Sounds like a bit of a witch hunt to me. This is a hairdressers and if they misunderstand how someone wants their hair cut and they are not happy, all hell will break lose with a possible law suit at the end of it. All the time someone is looking to shout racism claims at someone else, when in truth all the sign does is state that only English is spoken in the salon. Loved this bit, Your Thurrock has spent over a week contacting the Diversity Unit but have had no response,. Can Your Thurrock please also explain the phrase “quietly aggressive” ? The owner was probably fed up with busy bodies with nothing else to do sticking their noses into her business and told them in plain English to leave the premises. The sign is not racist it is giving information.

  4. The sign is not an instruction, it is information and therefore cannot in any way be construed as racist. I have had first hand experience in a hairdresser’s where the client spoke no English. The hairdresser made every attempt to understand what her client wanted done and, indeed, the client seemed OK at first. Halfway through the cut the client got agitated and tried to explain (I think) that he was not happy with the style. Much shouting and flailing of hands later the client calmed down, had his cut finished and left without having to pay. I think it is better all round if it is known right from the off that only English is spoken (if that is the case), it will avoid any grief later on. Why did Yout Thurrock think this was a suitable case to worry the manageress with I wonder?

  5. These people need to shut up and butt out. There are shops in this country that display similar signs advocating other languages may only be spoken. These people need to remember this IS OUR COUNTRY and if we were visiting other countries we would not expect the shopkeepers to be able to speak English. I would not be offended if in Spain, I saw a sign saying “only Spanish spoken here”. These offended people need to learn to stop being offended on others’ behalf; remember which country they are in and keep their self hating inverted racist bigotry to themselves. For those of you who don’t like it, look in the mirror for the REAL fascist around here. Narrow minded bigots like you will not be tolerated for much longer. You do gooders are getting on everybody’s nerves. Just shut up!

  6. More of an infomational sign than a racist remark, why do people continue to pussy foot around with the PC brigade, we live in a free country and should be able to publish what we want with our businesses as long as it does not mean to upset people,

    We recently saw Muslims in London and Luton waving banners that could have been construed as inciting hatred and violence but these were hushed up in fear of causing offence against those who were waving them.

    The sooner that the UK drops the Human Rights and PC banners that allows all and sundry to hide behind it the better we will all become.

    Why are TBC wasting their time and our money on trying to make something out of this and what looks like trying to seek a prosecution.

    I agree totaly with the shop owner, if people want to live within the UK, which I don’t have a problem with, the least they can do is to learn the language before they arrive I have seen all too often parents with their children attending schools who cannot speak a word of English, how can this help their development and intergration into this country???

  7. In my view there is nothing racist about this. Many people from overseas living here can understand a little bit of English particularly written but cannot always master the spoken. The owner is making it clear that they are unable to speak any other language which can avoid any embarrassment or wasted time.

  8. I wouldnt look at this sign and say its racist,discriminative yes, I work with people who cant even speak so when they go to the hairdressers, guess what? they take a picture with them to show how they would like their hair cut, very simple but effective.
    Trying to explain to any hairdresser what you want is difficult often what you want is not going to suit or the hairdresser will have their reasons why they cant do a prticular cut,style etc which they need to explain to you,difficult if you cant understand each other admittedly. It would be nice to know what other steps the owner took to try and accomodate her non english speaking customers,Im sure if he/she were to say she would not be subjected to such scrutiny and then maybe it was last resort to put the sign up. Its a tricky one. I dont think its as simple to say they should all learn to speak English,maybe they are new to the country and havent quite got the hang of it yet, who knows.


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