'Britain's wonkiest pub' demolished days after going up in flames - as police probe cause of blaze

8 August 2023, 09:59

Crooked House pub gutted after fire rips through historic building

Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Britain's wonkiest pub has been demolished days after it went up in flames as police continue to investigate the cause of the blaze.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

As LBC reported, firefighters say their access to the Crooked House pub in Himley, Staffordshire, was blocked by mounds of dirt.

The blaze began at around 10pm on Saturday, with reports intruders were inside the pub moments before the fire started.

But police have said nobody was inside the pub when the fire started.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has called for the pub, which has now been demolished, to be rebuilt.

“This pub may be just over the border in your county of Staffordshire, but it clearly holds real cultural and historical significance to the West Midlands," Mr Street said.

"We therefore found it deeply upsetting to see the iconic location gutted in this way.

“We therefore ask you to consider ensuring the property is rebuilt brick by brick (using as much original material as possible) before any further discussion about the future of the site take place."

He added: "We would strongly ask you to consider not allowing any alternative use and instead keeping this iconic location as a pub. It is in all our interests that we do not allow the Crooked House pub to be consigned to history."

The blaze erupted just days after developers bought the 18th-century pub, which would no longer operate as such, according to the brewery.

Fire crews from Staffordshire and West Midlands raced to the rural site but could not contain the inferno.

One of the first firefighters at the scene has now revealed his crew's access to the building was restricted due to a mound of dirt "blocking" the rural road.

Read more: Last orders for takeaway pints as huge change to pub laws will see the practice banned

Read more: ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ destroyed in mystery blaze just weeks after cherished 18th-century building sold off

Due to the blocked access, firefighters had to park a third of the way up the lane and roll out 40 lengths of hose to reach the building as it was engulfed in flames, according to reports.

Locals claim intruders were inside partying and playing loud music just before the fire erupted. But police said no one was inside when it ignited.

Chris Green, who has served in the fire service for 16 years and has been watch commander at Tipton Fire Station since 2021, said access was difficult due to mounds of dirt blocking the road.

Mr Green told Express and Star: "When we got there the lads had to work so hard because there were mounds of dirt that had been put in the road blocking the lane.

"They could have been put there as a security measure."

Read more: Record number of pubs forced to call last orders as 'perfect storm' caused by soaring costs and weak demand hits

Read more: Ex-police chief believes ‘drug lord’ son didn’t ‘grass’ in £120m smuggling plot after upbringing at £45k school

The burnt out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley. A fire gutted the 18th century pub just days after it was sold to a private buyer.
The burnt out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley. A fire gutted the 18th century pub just days after it was sold to a private buyer. Picture: Alamy

Authorities are now working to "establish the cause" of the puzzling blaze. Forensics teams have been inspecting the scene as part of the ongoing investigation.

Nicknamed "Britain's wonkiest pub," the Crooked House was famed for its extreme slant caused by 19th century mining subsidence.

The off-kilter tourist attraction had been listed as a Grade II historic building since the 1960s before being ravaged by the mysterious fire.

A Staffordshire Police spokesperson said: "Officers were called to a report of a fire at what used to be the Crooked House pub on Himley Road.

"Crews from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were already in attendance and had extinguished the blaze. No one was believed to be inside the building and no one has been reported injured.

"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."