Hairdressing family open new salon in Downham and bring a London style to market town

Bilton, 1 High Street Downham Market preview open day for new salon/coffee shop due to open on Tuesday, June 13.
LtoR, James Bilton, Amy Bilton, Joe Bilton
Bilton, 1 High Street Downham Market preview open day for new salon/coffee shop due to open on Tuesday, June 13. LtoR, James Bilton, Amy Bilton, Joe Bilton

A new salon which opened in Downham this week is the latest venture for an entrepreneurial family which already operates a successful business in West Norfolk.

Bilton at 1 High Street is the new enterprise for hairdressing siblings Joe, 28, James 26, and Amy, 22, Bilton, who all grew up in the town and whose family also run Bilton’s Eating House at Tottenhill.

The salon includes a cocktail bar and coffee shop, which sells drinks, sandwiches and cake to take away.

Joe will continue to work some days in London, where he has worked for the last eight years, but will also spend time at the salon. He said Amy and James are based in West Norfolk and have both been mobile hairdressers as well as involved with running the Tottenhill business.

Said Joe: “All three of us have always been creative and artistic and went into hairdressing separately. For a while Amy worked in London at the same salon I was working at.

“Opening this new salon will now mean that James and Amy will have a base from which to work and they will split their time between the two businesses.

“I want to bring a bit of London to Downham to give clients here the same kind of experience, from high standards of hairdressing through to the opportunity of relaxing in smart, comfortable surroundings and being offered coffee, cocktails and champagne, if they choose.”

The building for Bilton was acquired in January and it has been completely transformed. “The interior has been fully refurbished and it’s beautiful,” said James. “It’s quite moody with effective lighting and there are three levels to the shop.”

Bilton opened on Tuesday and a special preview open day was held for invited guests the preceding week.

Joe, James and Amy all attended Downham High School and have been supported in their enterprises by parents Jimmy and Lesley Bilton.

Bilton’s Eating House, the former Dray and Horses pub, is co-owned by Joe and James and was opened two years ago. Said Joe: “It’s thriving. It has over 45 covers, serves bistro-style food and all the produce is locally sourced.”