100! Former nurse Katherine recalls nights out at ‘Buffalo’

She retired aged 70, giving opportunities to younger women who needed jobs. “It was only fair,” she said.

Monday, 16th May — By Emma Boyle

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Katherine Finnerty celebrates

THERE were pink balloons and classic Irish melodies playing as a Queen’s Crescent pensioner celebrated her 100th birthday.

Katherine Finnerty, from Cressfield Close, wore a tiara that read “100 years old” on Tuesday, with her hair styled for the special occasion.

A nurse during the Second World War, she held her card from the Queen in her lap.

“The secret to a long life is hard work,” said Ms Finnerty, a former waitress who worked at several venues in the borough including the World’s End in Camden Town.

She was born in County Mayo, Ireland, and came to Camden in 1940, living in Hawley Road and then around Holloway Road.

She recalled wartime aid-raid sirens and nights stationed on rooftops on fire-watch, ready to smother fires on her building with sandbags or water.

And Ms Finnerty has not forgotten nights out at Buffalo club, now the Electric Ballroom, during years gone by. She said in those days young women could walk home alone at midnight without any fear but now the borough felt less safe.

She retired aged 70, giving opportunities to younger women who needed jobs. “It was only fair,” she said.

Carers in Ms Finnerty home recalled her sitting at reception with her bags packed, waiting to jet off on two or three holidays a year for many years, including visiting her sister twice in Chicago.

Her nephew and daughter-in-law, Robert and Jan Hennigan, were with her to celebrate her 100th birthday on Tuesday.
Looking at a picture of herself, she said she looked like “not a bad granny”.

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