Moment Britain’s wonkiest pub is torn down by JCB just a DAY after it burned down: Mystery over who demolished fire ravaged 18th century boozer that was sold to developer last month – as furious campaigners demand it’s rebuilt ‘brick by brick’
- The Crooked House in Himley, West Midlands, was gutted in a fire on Saturday
Footage of Britain’s Wonkiest Pub being razed to the ground at speed has sparked fury among locals.
The historic Crooked House in Himley, West Midlands – famed for being the place where coins seemingly rolled uphill along the bar – was gutted by a fire on Saturday night.
Only the exterior of the 18th century boozer remained standing, but there was much hope locally that it could be preserved and restored as a watering hole once again.
But barely 36 hours after it went up in flames, footage emerged on social media of what remained of the building being demolished by a mechanical digger – and by Monday afternoon it was completely flattened.
The blaze, which was tackled by 30 firefighters, came just two weeks after the building was sold by pub company Marston’s to a private buyer for ‘alternative use’.
Footage of Britain’s Wonkiest Pub being razed to the ground at speed has sparked fury among locals
The historic Crooked House in Himley, West Midlands – famed for being the place where coins seemingly rolled uphill along the bar – was gutted by a fire on Saturday night
Only the exterior of the 18th century boozer remained standing, but there was much hope locally that it could be preserved and restored as a watering hole once again
But barely 36 hours after it went up in flames, footage emerged on social media of what remained of the building being demolished by a mechanical digger – and by Monday afternoon it was completely flattened
Staffordshire Police says they are reviewing ‘all of the available evidence’ into the cause of the fire.
But there have been multiple reports that mounds of dirt were blocking access roads to the pub after the fire started, something Mayor Andy Street and night-time economy adviser Alex Claridge confirmed in a letter to the police and fire services.
The pair said they ‘make it clear we are not inferring’ that The Crooked House was deliberately set alight, but that there are ‘major questions’ over the timing of the blaze.
Their letter was addressed to Staffordshire Police Chief Constable Chris Noble and and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber.
It said: ‘Whilst we will avoid any speculation as to what has occurred, clearly there are major questions to be answered given how swiftly this fire happened following the sale of the pub to an unknown private developer.
‘We are also intrigued by the fact that your officers faced blocked access when trying to get to the scene.’
Mr Street also said in another letter to South Staffordshire Council that the pub should be rebuilt ‘brick by brick’.
As video of the demolition circulated on Facebook, many of the pub’s regular punters were left devastated by the sight.
One person wrote: ‘No way?!!! They have demolished the place THAT quickly?!!! Really???’
Another added: ‘Standing since the 18th century, been through war, mining, subsidence…the walls were still standing and a hope of saving something of a landmark, even if just the signage but these disgraceful individuals couldn’t even honour that.’
Bulldozers tore down the beloved structure, leaving a massive pile of rubble in its place
Even in the modern era, before it closed, the pub retained its unique character. The floor, sofas and tables were perfectly upright – but the walls, ceilings and even the windows sat at an angle
Inside, its windows and walls all appeared crooked due to a bizarre effect through subsidence caused by mining in the 1800s
The crooked nature of the pub attracted punters for decades, with walls, doorways and windows all appearing slanted
Locals started a petition calling for the pub to be saved after a sale was announced to a private buyer who intended to pursue an ‘alternative purpose’ for the site. They have since doubled down on calling for The Crooked House to be restored
It comes as it emerged today that heritage body Historic England received a submission from experts just a week before the fire requesting that the pub be given protection as a listed building.
Such measures mean property owners must first get local council permission before all works of demolition, alteration or extension on the building.
Campaigners, the Georgian Group, are also looking into whether The Crooked House can be protected now after the fire, and if there are other options available than it being ‘left as a ruin’, the Telegraph reports.
Detective Inspector Richard Dancey, from the Criminal Investigation Division, said: ‘This incident has caused a great deal of speculation locally and we understand the significance of the building within the local community.
‘We would like to remind the public that our investigation is ongoing and we are reviewing all of the available evidence alongside fire investigators to determine the cause of the incident.
‘Due to the excess damage caused to the structure of the building, the cordon remains in place [on Monday] and we’re asking people to avoid the area.
‘Those who may have any useful information are urged to get in touch with us whilst we continue to complete our lines of enquiry alongside the fire service.’
Anyone with information that may help the investigation is urged to contact Staffordshire Police quoting incident 761 of August 5.
The 192-year-old ‘wonkiest pub’ where coins rolled UP the bar before being destroyed by fire: How Dudley bar The Crooked Pub sunk 4ft into the ground due to mine subsidence before being rescued from demolition and attracting admirers the world over
A wonky historic 18th century pub that burned down last week was famed the world over for its baffling appearance and optical illusions that saw coins and marbles appear to roll up the bar.
An investigation has been launched after The Crooked House in Himley, near Dudley in the West Midlands, caught fire on Saturday August 5 at around 10pm.
Staffordshire Police are treating the blaze as ‘suspicious’ following reports that individuals were seen inside the pub in the hours before it went up in flames.
The fire has completely gutted the unique watering hole, which attracted tourists from every corner of the globe and was a popular wedding venue – and brings a sorry end to its nearly 200-year-old history.
Prior to its destruction this month, The Crooked House was often described as Britain’s wonkiest pub, sitting four feet lower on one side than the other.
The Crooked House pub in Himley, near Dudley in the West Midlands, operated as one of Britain’s more unconventional watering holes for nearly 200 years. This photo from 1907 shows how popular it was even back then
The pub had attracted visitors from all over the world who marvelled at its extraordinary appearance, caused by mining subsidence. However, it was destroyed by fire on August 5
The mind-bending taproom was first built as a farmhouse in 1765, but gradually sank into the ground on one side due to subsidence from mining works carried out in the 1800s.
It was converted into a pub in around 1830 and was first known as The Siden House – ‘siden’ being Black Country dialect for ‘crooked’.
It was later renamed the Glynne Arms after Sir Stephen Glynne, a brother-in-law of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who owned the land on which the tavern stood.
While the Glynne Arms name remained above the door into the 1970s, the pub had acquired a more affectionate nickname among locals by then: The Crooked House, which was later adopted as the formal moniker.
Inside, drinkers might have been convinced they had one too many before they’d even sipped their first pint – because while the floors and fixtures such as the bars and seats were level, the ceilings, walls and windows were not.
A mind-boggling optical illusion known as a ‘gravity hill’ meant that coins and marbles appear to roll uphill when placed on slightly downhill surfaces that were sitting at a less jaunty angle than the rest of the pub.
Picture postcards of the era – a popular way for visitors to show families back home where they were visiting in the years before photography was commonplace – made much of the pub’s quirks.
Many are captioned ‘The Crooked House’, while one even features a table of well-dressed country gentlemen marvelling at a marble appearing to roll up their table.
Picture postcards from the early 1900s made much of the pub’s awkward appearance both inside and out. The card on the left shows two gentlemen appearing to stand at an angle inside, while that on the right is captioned: ‘Doorway, ‘Crooked House’, Himley’
Another postcard of the era shows a table of gentlemen at the Crooked House making the most of the topsy-turvy setting. The caption reads: ‘The Crooked House: Watching the Marble roll up the table’
Punters enjoyed The Crooked House’s original character for almost two centuries. A photograph from 1926 (left) shows two gentlemen standing at a seemingly jaunty angle in the doorway of the pub – a tradition that continued with punters in the modern era (right)
In an interview with regional broadcaster ATV in 1974, operators the Love family described the pub as a place where people ‘go in drunk and come out sober’.
Landlord Arthur Love said: ‘[This place is full of] all sorts of tricks. [People come from] China, Russia, Japan, Canada, America, all over the world.
‘They come to see the bottle run up the table.’
Mr Love’s wife said: ‘I used to get violent headaches, but of course we’ve got used to the building now.
‘It all went [sunk] in the one go and there isn’t a crack to be seen.
‘You come in drunk and you go out sober. [Our regulars] are very few but they are good customers. We get quite a few strangers in quite a lot.
‘You’ve got to see it to believe. You tell people things are straight and they still don’t believe it.’
The Loves revealed that the pub was an interior decorator’s nightmare – because tradespeople couldn’t figure out if they were hanging the wallpaper straight.
Mrs Love added: ‘The first one who came here and did it said he couldn’t hang the damn stuff on straight – had to pull it all off.’
The boozer had been threatened with closure in the 1940s after it was deemed unsafe. By this time, one side of the building had sunk a full four feet into the ground, despite the owners installing buttresses to stop it from slipping any further.
Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries then purchased the building, reinforcing the supports with girders, and it remained open until earlier this year when the same brewer – now known as Marston’s – announced that it was closing it as part of a cost-cutting regime.
The brewing giant said it was selling off 61 locations to ‘maximise returns from our core estate’.
The Crooked House went on the market in January with a guide price of £675,000 and sold last month to a private buyer for an undisclosed sum. Staff later said the pub was ‘unlikely to open its doors again’.
Any hope of bringing the pub back into use went up in smoke on Saturday night after fire crews were called to Himley amid reports that The Crooked House was alight.
Locals have claimed that the lane up to the pub off of Himley Road had been blocked when fire engines arrived, hampering their ability to tackle the blaze and save the building.
Lee Goodchild, who had taken over the pub last year, has shared his exasperation at the decision to sell following an expensive makeover at Marston’s’ expense earlier this year.
It was first built as a farmhouse and later converted into a public house in around 1830. Pub giant Marston’s had completed a sale of the property last month as part of a cost-cutting exercise that saw it put 60 other venues on the market
Fire crews assessing the remains of The Crooked House on Sunday. Police are appealing for information on the fire and are believed to be treating it as ‘suspicious’
He said of the sale: ‘I feel very much let down by Marston’s, and I’m sure the local community also feel devastated.
‘They’ve sold off one of the oldest pubs around. It’s massively known in the area and worldwide in fact, but it’s their pub to sell, and it was an expensive place to run – but obviously, does the unique heritage of the site outweigh the cost?
‘It’s disappointing that the place has gone up in flames. It’s a shame, especially given the time and money that has gone into it. The roof has been replaced at Marston’s’ cost, and the kitchen too, but it all seems a little bit worthless now.’
Staffordshire Police said in a statement on Sunday: ‘We are now working with fire investigators to establish the cause of the fire. Fire investigators are inspecting the scene this morning and officers are making local enquiries to secure any information that might help the investigation.
‘Anyone who may have any information that could help with the investigation are asked to get in touch.’
Tipsters can contact the force using Staffordshire Police’s Live Chat system or by calling 101 and quoting incident number 761 of 5 August. Anonymous reports can also be made via Crimestoppers.
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