JD Wetherspoon reopens Woolwich pub following riots destruction

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: London

JD Wetherspoon has spent £1.3m redeveloping The Great Harry, with 15 members of staff returning to the pub
JD Wetherspoon has spent £1.3m redeveloping The Great Harry, with 15 members of staff returning to the pub
The Great Harry pub in Woolwich is set to reopen tomorrow (July 10) on the site of the original building which was burnt to the ground during last year’s riots.

JD Wetherspoon has spent £1.3m redeveloping The Great Harry, with the creation of 60 jobs and 15 members of staff returning from the old business. Arber Hasani will step in as the pub's new manager.

Situated on Wellington Street, The Great Harry was originally opened in 2000. It was then completely destroyed in a petrol bomb attack on the night of 8 August 2011.

Emergency crews came under attack as they tried to fight the blaze at the pub and nearby offices and shops. The below video shows the extent of the damage caused.

The pub has since served as a poignant symbol of the riots, being used as a ‘wall of peace’, with many members of the public writing messages on the burnt out building's hoardings.

“We are delighted to be reopening The Great Harry,” said Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson. “The pub plays an important role in the Woolwich community.

“In the days following the disturbances, the hoardings around the burnt out pub became a ‘tribute wall’ for people to leave messages and comments of support, which showed the importance of the pub to them and the local community.”

'Absolute war zone'

At the time of the riots, Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for Wetherspoons, told BigHospitality that it was ‘horrendous for the local community and the economy’. He said that the pub was closed at the time of the attack and that other minor incidents were reported at other pubs in the country.

The other pubs were under siege were in Croydon, Camden and central London. Alan McCabe, the manager of the Old Fox & Hounds in Croydon, described the area as ‘an absolute war zone’.

The 16-year-old Abbey Wood arsonist who burnt the pub down was detained last December for four years.

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1 comment

Well done Wetherspoons

Posted by Martin McHugh,

As a local, a big thank you to JDs. It is a successful pub and did not deserve its fate.
I hope it is even more succesful with all the new residents due to move in.

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