John Roy unfurls his moustache at a presentation for the Guinness Book of Records Dutch edition, 1977. (Photo: Nationaal Archief/flickr)

Meet John Roy: descendant of Scottish outlaw Rob Roy, pub landlord, and the world-record holder for longest moustache. When this photo was taken in 1977, Roy had been growing his moustache for nearly 40 years. By this time, it reached just over five feet.

However, in the competitive moustache-growing world, there’s no such thing as overnight success. Roy had received recognition for his hirsute abilities some two decades earlier, in 1949, when he won London’s Handlebar Club Cup.

World domination was clearly the next step for Roy’s whiskers. That, or winning a mention in the Guinness Book of Records (as it was then known) for “Longest Moustache.” But after years spent avoiding bristle-threatening dangers like razors and open flames, Roy’s champion facial hair saw its life cut short. It was reported that in 1984, half his luxuriant moustache broke off in the bath. 

This is Photo of the Week, a feature in which we unearth a compelling photograph every Monday.