Highbury Leisure Centre fire: Damage to refurbished gym laid bare as brigade confirms work on roof caused blaze

PUBLISHED: 19:02 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:27 27 September 2018

Damage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire Brigade

Damage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire Brigade


These sobering pictures show the extent of the damage to Highbury Leisure Centre after a fire destroyed its roof yesterday.

Damage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire BrigadeDamage to Highbury Leisure Centre. Picture: @LFBTowerHamlets/London Fire Brigade

The footage comes as London Fire Brigade confirmed the blaze was started by contractors working on the roof. A hundred people were evacuated as the fire took hold but fortunately no one was hurt.

The building, which was refurbished to the tune of £2.5million and reopened in February after 18 months, will now be shut until further notice.

There were 12 fire engines and about 80 firefighters sent to the scene – including crews from Islington, Holloway and Stoke Newington.

The fire burned from midday until 2.45pm on Tuesday, but a huge plume of smoke was visible across London for hours more, and the brigade was on the scene damping down the remains into the night.

One gym user, Robin Lee, of Mountgrove Road, said: “It was quite traumatic, especially for the people working there.

“I’m gutted because they’ve only just finished working on it and must have spent a lot of money – it’s a great shame this has happened.”

The remains of the Highbury Leisure Centre roof this afternoon. Picture: Alan DavisonThe remains of the Highbury Leisure Centre roof this afternoon. Picture: Alan Davison

A 38-year-old witness told the Gazette yesterday: “The roof is completely gutted and there [were] flames coming out of the top of the building.”

As reported by the Gazette at the time, neighbours in February complained the final design of the leisure centre didn’t match what had been agreed at planning, and operator GLL/Better agreed to shoulder the cost of fixing it. This week’s works are believed to relate to fixing a leak, not the remedial works, which have yet to begin.

GLL said: “Updates on the re-opening of the centre will be posted on the centre’s website. Better members may use our alternative facilities in Islington or neighbouring boroughs.”

Highbury Leisure Centre's roof on fire.Highbury Leisure Centre's roof on fire.

People with belongings at the gym will be told when they are safe to collect.

Related articles

Latest Islington News Stories


Wireless promoter Live Nation has been given the green light to carry on holding the festival in Finsbury Park after a licensing review – but artists will be “encouraged” not to swear.

The victims commissioner is visiting the Ben Kinsella Trust today to learn about its life-saving workshops, which educate young people about the horror of carrying knives.

Year 5 kids from St John the Evangelist school have designed a “vibrant” and “energetic” tapestry for The Charterhouse.

Yesterday, 13:00

An innovative NHS project that hires people with first-hand experience of mental illness to support mental health patients across Islington has won a national award.

Yesterday, 11:59

A hundred neighbours were rushed from their beds on Saturday evening as a major gas leak saw Green Lanes locked down.

Yesterday, 10:48

A chatty Big Issue seller who died alone in a hostel room. A table tennis-playing “teddy bear” who killed himself. At least four people who were homeless in Islington have died over the last 12 months, but no one is recording their deaths.

Yesterday, 07:55

Islington has enrolled in national anti-sugar campaign to battle tooth decay and unhealthy diets.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A housing association has been lambasted for its “appalling” approach to repair and maintenance work on a Clerkenwell estate.


Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now