Waltham Abbey Tattoo Shop Thirteen Changes Location: Podcast

I sat down with owner Steve and apprentices Alex and Elanor to discuss Waltham Abbey’s  Thirteen Tattoo Parlour’s change in location!


Women And Tattoos In The 21st Cenury


Tattoos date all the way back to primitive times and were used, and still are used, for many reasons; from a cave man’s rite of passage into adulthood, to a 21st century teen’s favourite song lyrics staying with them forever and always. Before the 21st century it was mainly criminals and members of the navy that had tattoos… definitely not women! Times have changed massively however, and now it is mostly considered perfectly normal for a woman to have tattoos. The continuous feminist movements that have been made throughout many countries, especially in the UK since the 1960s, could be a major contributor to this.

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Harry Potter Tattoos!

I saw that two sisters got matching Harry Potter tattoos today and I have to say I think they’re awesome!


I’m totally not biased at all to the amazing saga that has been a huge part of my life for years…. But I don’t just think it’s a great idea for potter heads. The concept, I thought, was really sweet and that getting matching tattoos with your best friend or your sibling or another family member is great.

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Personally I can’t think of a better way to signify a relationship. With friends it may be a bit of a similar thing to the whole ‘don’t get it done in case you fall out’ like it is with relationships and tattoos. Although if your friendship has lasted more than seven years then it will last a lifetime. I know this because I have seen the meme about a zillion times on Facebook and thus is exactly how I know it’s true!

Celebrity Tattoos: Are They Influencing Us Too Much?


Many celebrities that are apart of pop culture these days have tattoos. In previous years, rock stars like Ozzy Osbourne were the only ones to have tattoos as it was only considered part of that genre. Nowadays however, it’s difficult to find a celebrity without one, even if it’s teeny tiny.


Everyone knows how influential celebrities are on people. One dyes their hair pink so does Shelley next door. So it got me thinking that maybe some people just get tattoos because its become a big fashion trend. I have loved tattoos since way back when they weren’t considered the cool and hip thing to do and I got my first when everyone thought I was ruining my skin by doing so.


It’s just now I can’t help but notice some of those same people who criticised me all those years ago are now getting tatted. There are some tattoos that are obvious fashion statements, apologies to anyone reading this who may have this design but for example, the descending sequence of stars. I’m sure it was a nice little idea when it first came about but now it’s not original at all. The infinity sign is another example and that’s particularly popular with the girls.

hermione tat

Everyone must remember when Cheryl first joined the X Factor? Everyone went mad for that lovely little tattoo on her hand and soon enough, loads of people had something similar, if not exactly the same in the same place too. No wonder the poor soul had to get her whole butt tattooed to stay relevant.


Anyways I guess what I am trying to say is that tattoos are a precious thing, not to mention expensive, and a life long commitment. Sort of like marriage, it’s disastrous when you realise you don’t want it anymore and did it all for the wrong reasons anyway. Just be careful, be original and respect the ink.

cheryl tat

Thirteen Changes Location In The Abbey

Tattoo and piercing parlour Thirteen, has moved from the hidden away backstreets of the Abbey, to the main high street where they are now more prominent.


Locally loved Thirteen had been at its previous address for years. However, a rise in staff warranted a new space. It now sits proudly along the high street amongst other shops and competitors.


Owner Steve says he is very happy with his investment; “Originally the old shop was just for myself when I took it on so it was a long time coming. As long as we transfer the old atmosphere into the new shop, then everything should be okay and so far so good. “


This has been somewhat of a risk for owner Steve as the price of the new one was four times as much the price of the old one. Steve claims that this was the only concern about investing in a new parlour.


Only two weeks into the move and although Steve feels it is too early to tell, business seems to be on the rise already. Despite carrying over their already heavy clientele, the new location is more noticeable and the first weekend the shop was open, business was booming with fresh faces.


“If the first weekend was anything to go by,” Says Steve, “Then the signs are looking very good.”


Thirteen is also a training ground for two young apprentices Alex and Eleanor. They feel the new shop is going to be the key to their careers.


“It looks more professional and everyone has their own space. I have my own station to work from now so this will be where I propel.”  Says Alex.


“It is more organised as well. There is a roster so there are days where I can practise on fake skin,” says Eleanor, “and I have somewhere to go and practise my designs.”


Steve made the move in the hope to better his own and his staff’s careers; “This is where people will start to take us a bit more seriously now. It will give us something to have pride in.”


“If I hadn’t have taken on the shop I don’t think we’d all be together. When you find the people I’ve got, when you find that atmosphere, you can’t buy that.” Says Steve.



Steve and his team are  planning to show off their skills by attending tattoo conventions, their first in May at The Great British Tattoo Show in Alexandra Palace.

A History of Tattoos

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. The earliest tattoos  recorded date back to Egypt, during the time of constructing the pyramids; this then caused the art of tattooing to spread to countries such as Greece, Arabia and China in 2o00 BC.

However it is believed that tattooing has been around for much longer than that. It has been said that ancient cave men would cut themselves and use burned wood and coal to darken the skin permanently to make tribal markings. It is also believed that this was one of the very first forms of art. Primitive men would tattoo themselves for spiritual reasons; it would align them with the gods and increase their virility and fertility.

Primitive people  tattooed their children as a rite of passage into adulthood to see if they could tolerate the pain. If he could take the pain, then he was good enough to fight in battle, and if she could take the pain, she could bare childbirth.

They would tattoo totem animals such as snakes and butterflies for they believed the animal could act as a spirit guide throughout their life, and they would adopt some of the qualities of the animal

Inking used to be considered funeral art; ancient Egyptians and Libyans would tattoo dead bodies as a way of allowing their spirit to pass on over. Today tattoos could still be considered to be used as funeral art as many people make memorials for people via tattoos; names or symbols to represent lost loved ones and even incorporating a loved ones ashes into the ink of the tattoo.

It became a form of identity in history. Britons would often tattoo their family crests on their bodies  and the vikings for example tattooed themselves according to their tribes and clans. Women in Borneo would tattoo their particular skills on their bodies so men could see how worthy of marriage they were. The Chinese used to tattoo people to brand them as criminals or those who have done wrong. Aristocrats in other countries however used it to show their social status. Today people still use the art form as a way of representing who they are.

They would puncture every drop of ink onto skin by hand, which made it a long and pain staking procedure which is why it was not very popular until modern technology.

Before the noughties, those who had tattoos were assumed to be criminals or part of the navy, and it was primarily men who possessed them. Tattoos have evolved in the modern era to become fashion statements, forms of expression, a physical representation of the bond between two people, or people and their pets or their children. They’ve become memories and symbols of someone’s aspirations for the future. Kinda weird to think it all stemmed from cave men carving holes in themselves…

Modern technology has transformed tattoos so much that they can now be removed by lasers. Some of the most beautiful pieces of art have been canvassed on skin. Let’s hear it for this amazing phenomenon and be grateful that we are have such easy access for it.

To the future of tattoos!



Tattoo Artists Are Now Being Trained To Spot Skin Cancer!

Tattoo artists are now being given the tools to recognise skin cancer on the people that they ink.

Southmead Hospital in Bristol hosted an event  on April 12 to help tattooists recognise the early stages of skin cancer, such as melanoma, which can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly.

They will also be taught what to watch out for in moles to spot any changes, and also advise people where not to have tattoos if they think it is an area of concern.

Ben Boston told ITV news about how he spotted a mole that had changed on a man’s back; “I’d noticed the mole had changed significantly in size and shape on his shoulder and significantly darkened. I told him he should probably get it looked at. It was diagnosed as melanoma and removed within a week.”

A lot of the time tattooists see parts of our body that we do not even see ourselves and can now warn people if they see something suspicious. Hopefully this encourages hospitals all over the country to educate Britain’s tattooists and others across the world and save hundreds of lives.