Brandling blaze affects first floor flat


Emily Colman (@libgal1985)/Twitter

This post was updated at 12.10am, 8.40am and 9.25am on May 29th. Scroll down to view updates.

69-year-old Keith Gibbon has been running pubs and clubs in the region for more than half a century, but his Jesmond-based bar, The Brandling, faced a once-in-a-lifetime misfortune tonight.

Gibbon was setting up for his weekly quiz night, a favourite with locals, when a fire began in accommodation above the pub at around 5.45pm. According to tweets by Louise McMaster, who was in the bar at the time, there were fewer than 10 drinkers present.

“It was so bad,” McMaster said on Twitter. “The full upstairs of [the building] was in flames then all the windows were getting smashed.” Firefighters and four fire engines were quickly on the scene, and put out the fire. Smoke was visible from nearby houses and at street level, photographs by those on the scene show.

Kate Emmett, also present, noted that the pub was closed and the area cordoned off. There’s “a little bit of debris on the pavement,” she told JesmondLocal at 9pm on May 28th.


Dominic Kennedy/Facebook

JesmondLocal understands that the fire was largely confined to the first-floor flat in which Gibbon lives, where damage to the property has been at its worst. Gibbon was a regular at his own bar downstairs, liaising with the customers. His daughter Emba runs the bar, alongside a portfolio of others in Newcastle including the Venue nightclub and North Terrace pub.

JesmondLocal is led to believe that there may have been some damage to the ground floor pub as a result of the fire, and that The Brandling, a favourite of those studying in Jesmond thanks to its cheap drink deals and competitively-priced food, may be closed temporarily while repairs are carried out.

Response from locals was quick:



Update 12.10am, May 29th
JesmondLocal has learnt last night’s fire at The Brandling was not the first the bar has suffered. In 1994 the bar was the victim of a petrol bombing, according to a 1999 Evening Chronicle report.

Update 8.40am, May 29th
Glasses and plates have been left on tables at The Brandling’s beer garden, demonstrating the speed with which the bar was evacuated last night. A strong smell of smoke still remains by the doorways of the pub, which remains cordoned off this morning.

Passersby on their way to work and university are stopping at the bar and peering through its windows, trying to survey the damage.

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The inside ground floor of The Brandling does not look to have suffered much damage, though the strong smell of smoke would indicate that our earlier reports that the bar is likely to be closed temporarily are correct.

Update 9.25am May 29th

Emba Gibbon of The Brandling has been in touch with more details about the fire:

Hi there just to let people know that no one was hurt. Thanks to our customers who left in an orderly fashion and finished their food and drink outside! The pub won’t be open for a bit but we are still available at the North Terrace.