Finsbury pub rises phoenix-like from ashes of fire

Regulars and staff celebrate the White Lion re-opening after the fire, including Philomena Curtin an

Regulars and staff celebrate the White Lion re-opening after the fire, including Philomena Curtin and Molly (centre) Pic: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

A 300-year-old Finsbury pub is celebrating a grand re-opening seven months after it was gutted by fire.

The White Lion, in Central Street, has been closed since April when a huge blaze ripped through the building - fire fighters had to rescue the landlord from the burning boozer.

But on Monday, exactly 30 weeks later, the popular pub threw open its doors once more with a celebration for thirsty locals.

Philomena Curtin, the landlady who lost her livelihood and home in the blaze, said; “It’s been a nightmare.

“These seven months have felt like seven years.

“What made it worse was losing my home - both for me and my dog Molly.

“Luckily my friend took us in, but it was very hard.

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“I’ve never dealt with insurance companies before so all new territory and a minefield.

“So much had gone where do you begin?

“But I’m really excited to be back open.

“All the stress has gone and turned to enthusiasm.

“I can’t believe how many people wished us good luck.

“We’ve really missed everyone and it’s good to be back.”

Islington Council’s Labour group have previously held their Christmas party at the pub and Ms Curtin says many of the councillors have been very supportive.

Claudia Webbe, who represents Bunhill ward which covers the pub, said: “This is really good news.

“Philomena and the pub have been at the heart of the community and are both very popular.

“It’s been a rock in the area - somewhere for people to meet and enjoy.

“It was so sad when the fire happened, but they have risen from the ashes and rebuilt themselves.

“I’m so pleased they have managed to reopen so quickly after this tragedy.”

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