Future of fire-ravaged Crooked House pub remains unclear six months on

Lewis Warner reports...

The future of the Crooked House pub near Dudley remains unclear six months after it was destroyed by a fire.

The pub in Himley was once known as "Britain's wonkiest pub" after it began sinking in the early 19th century.

It was destroyed by a fire on Saturday 5 August last year and was demolished two days later.

The fire at the iconic and beloved establishment caught the attention of the nation.

The blaze struck just days after the pub had changed hands, leaving the community in shock.

One campaigner who spent a lot of his childhood at the Crooked House and says that six months on, the pub is now a 'dumping ground'.

What happened?

The fire broke out at around 10pm on Saturday 5 August, under mysterious circumstances, leading to a swift response from local fire services.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said six crews from both Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Service tackled the blaze throughout the night.

Despite their efforts, the pub, known for its unique, wonky architecture, was left in ruins.

Drone shots reveal the damage in the aftermath of the fire

'It's like the day the Black Country died'

The loss of the Crooked House pub sparked an immediate outcry from locals and supporters nationwide.

Known as a centrepiece of the community and a tourist attraction, its destruction was felt deeply.

Flowers and cards of sympathy were left at the site, and one local said: "It's like the day the Black Country died."

The Crooked House up in flames. Credit: BMP Media

Calls for pub to be rebuilt "brick by brick"

The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, called for the Crooked House pub to be "rebuilt brick by brick" after bulldozers were sent in to demolish it.

He said any attempt to change its use in the future should be blocked, insisting he would not let the iconic pub "be consigned to history".

Mr Street said: "It was no secret that the site was on the open market for some time and that Marston's were struggling to make the site viable as a pub, however given the outpouring of support following this weekend's fire, we are convinced that there could well be a future for the pub."

In the weeks following the fire, a campaign rapidly gained momentum, with advocates calling for the pub to be rebuilt "brick by brick".

Supporters argued that restoring the pub to its former glory was essential for preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the area.

The Save the Crooked House group, which has over 35,000 members, has been campaigning for the last six months since the historic 18th-century pub burned down.

Paul Turner, a campaigner from Save The Crooked House, said they need all the support they can to get the pub rebuilt

What did police say?

There have been regular protests at the site, from local people who never wanted the pub to be sold in the first place.

The arson investigation into the cause of the fire has been ongoing.

To date, six individuals have been arrested in connection with the fire.

Staffordshire Police says the suspects currently remain on conditional police bail as the investigation continues.

Campaign to stop Grade II listed buildings being lost for good

An initiative was launched following the destruction of the iconic Crooked House to help protect historic and cherished pubs in the area.

West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) submitted five local pubs for Grade II listed status.

The Mitre, The Duke William, The Queens Head, all in Stourbridge, Pretty Bricks, in Walsall, and Ye Old Leathern Bottel, in Wednesbury, were nominated by the public as part of the List Your Local initiative which was launched last September by the WMCA in partnership with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

'This cannot happen anywhere else,' says Andy Street

The initiative encourages residents to submit the pubs they believe are of historical significance to the region.  

The WMCA has sent a list of pubs to Historic England for recommendations to be listed. If agreed, Historic England will then ask the secretary of state for culture, media, and sport, for approval.

By taking the first steps into listing local pubs, the WMCA hopes the initiative will spearhead efforts to stop historical pubs being lost for good.

More pubs are due to be submitted for listed status in the next few weeks.

What does the future look like for the Crooked House Pub?Despite the setbacks, the spirit of the community remains unbroken.

The campaign to rebuild the Crooked House pub symbolises more than just the restoration of a building; it represents a fight to preserve a piece of local identity and heritage.

As the legal process unfolds and the campaign for reconstruction presses on, the future of the Crooked House pub remains uncertain.

However, the resolve of the campaigners and the widespread support for the cause offer hope that the pub may once again stand as a testament to the community's resilience and dedication to its heritage.

A news reporter visits the 'Crooked House' pub in 1975 as the publicans battle to measure up for wallpaper, given the fact the walls and floor tilt in all directions.

Why was the Crooked House famous?

  • The Grade-II listed building dates back to 1765

  • It started sinking into the ground due to mining subsidence in the area and became known as 'the wonky pub' across the West Midlands and beyond

  • It became a pub in around 1830, and according to locals it was known as The Siden House, with "siden" meaning "crooked" in the local Black Country dialect

  • Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries bought it and converted it into a pub in the 1940s

  • Visitors could see the illusion of coins and marbles appearing to roll uphill along the bar

Six months on, much has remained the same, the flames from the fire are long gone but the fight hasn't faded.

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