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Antique grandfather clock 'removed from Crooked House' days before it was gutted in fire
11 August 2023, 10:22 | Updated: 11 August 2023, 11:53
An antique grandfather clock is thought to have been taken out of the Crooked House pub days before it was gutted by a fire.
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"Britain's wonkiest pub" in Himley, near Dudley, was soon demolished without permission shortly after the blaze, which outraged locals.
Police are treating the fire as an arson.
It has emerged that locals believe a 19th century clock was taken out of the pub before a fire broke out.
Photos shared to a Facebook page dedicated to the Crooked House show the clock was not positioned where it normally would be.
It has not been confirmed if the clock was in the pub when the fire broke out, and the new owners of the Crooked House have not commented but they have not been identified as suspects.
Other users on the page claimed they had seen items had been removed from the pub days before the fire on August 5.
The former landlord said the clock was in its usual place when he handed over the keys on July 18.
"The last time I went to the pub was the day I handed the keys back and the clock was very much there," Lee Goodchild said.
"It was a nice piece, it was old as the hills, and something everybody knew."
The loss of the pub has devastated the community, with calls growing for it to be rebuilt brick by brick.
Meanwhile, the company that hired out demolition equipment for the destruction of the gutted Crooked House has denied any wrongdoing or involvement in it being taken down.
Lyndon Thomas, owner of Lyndon Thomas Group, said that while his firm provided the excavator used to tear down what was left of the Crooked House, none of his men were involved in the demolition itself.
"If you give me your insurance and all your details and I deliver [equipment] to you and then you just tried to knock down your neighbour's building, what can I do? I have done nothing wrong," he said.
"We just hire a digger to a customer. I can't be responsible for what they do with the machinery."
He added: "If I knew this was going to happen I probably would have done something different, but I'm not Mystic Meg."
There are calls for the pub to be rebuilt brick by brick.