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

6 August 2023, 14:46

The pub burnt down on Saturday evening.
The pub burnt down on Saturday evening. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Jenny Medlicott

The Black Country’s most ‘iconic’ pub was engulfed in flames just weeks after shutting its doors for good.

The Crooked House, a Grade II listed property, was destroyed in a huge blaze around 10pm Saturday evening.

Situated in Dudley, fire services from the West Midlands and Staffordshire were forced to attend the blaze.

It comes after the owners, Marston’s, confirmed last month it had sold the historic landmark to a private buyer for “alternative use”.

It was listed for sale with a guide price of £675,000 but faced backlash after thousands petitioned to keep the pub open.

Staffordshire Police and fire services have opened an investigation into the mystery fire.

Six fire crews tackled the blaze, which was mostly extinguished by Sunday morning. No injuries were reported and nobody was believed to have been inside the pub at the time the blaze occurred.

The building was famed for its wonky appearance and subsequent optical illusions, as visitors would roll items along the bar in a way that made it appear they were rolling them uphill - much to the delight of tourists.

It was first built in 1765 as a farmhouse but one side of the building began to sink in the early 19th century as the area was a mining region, resulting in its 'crooked' appearance.

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The pub was reported alight on Saturday evening.
The pub was reported alight on Saturday evening. Picture: Twitter
The pub was a cherished building for locals in the Black Country.
The pub was a cherished building for locals in the Black Country. Picture: Alamy

In the 1940s it was set to be demolished as it was deemed unsafe, before it was bought by Dudley Breweries and later converted into a pub.

Watch commander Chris Green, from Tipton fire station, said: "The crews had to roll out 40 lengths of hose from the Himley Road which was the nearest hydrant."

Many have expressed their sadness at the news of the fire online.

Conservative MP for Wolverhampton North East, Jane Stevenson, tweeted: "Really sad to see - this pub is part of our local history. I hope nobody was hurt and our firefighters are all safe.

She added: "Many of us in the Black Country are fiercely proud of our heritage and I hope the Crooked House will be rebuilt as was."

Another added: “So sad to see The Crooked House burnt down overnight. A grade II listed building and unique pub that was part of Black Country heritage.

“As a child I remember being allowed to go inside to roll a penny down the bar and doing the same with our children when they were younger.”

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