Coffee morning 18th April 2024

This month’s speaker was Andy French who gave a full and informative account about Morecambe and Wise, his talk was well received by our membership and I am sure we will see him return at some time in the future.

The Crooked House – A part of History

It was sad news when it came on the television about the Crooked House being on fire. A part of history destroyed in minutes. The Crooked House in the Black Country, was well-known for its slopping floors and crooked walls, caused by mining subsidence in the area. The pub attracted many people to the area, all wanting to see the crazy clocks with pendulums which appeared to defy the Laws of Gravity and witness the marble that appeared to run up a slopping table-top, all of which were talking points for all that witness it.

Located in Hamley in England’s Black Country, the building was originally a corn mill coppice house and was built in 1765, before it was converted into a pub in the 1830s. In the 1850s the building began gradually sinking until one end of the building was 4 feet (1.2 m) lower than the other, leaning at an angle of 15 degrees. The subsidence led the pub to become known locally as the “Siden House” (“siden” meaning “crooked”). In 2002 the pub was officially renamed the Crooked House, which had been its long-standing colloquial name.

The building was strengthened by buttresses in 1904, but the building was condemned in 1940s, as said to be unsafe and was scheduled for demolition. Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries purchased the pub and in 1957 made the structure safe using steel tie rods and strengthening the buttresses, investing £10,000 (approximately £260,000 in 2021) in doing so.

In 1986 the pub was damaged by a fire which affected the first floor and the roof. The following year the brewery spent £360,000 (approximately £1,000,000 in 2021) on renovations.

Britiain’s wonkiest pub was put up for sale for £675,000 in March 2023. The sale was completed for the pub on 27th July for an undisclosed price to ATE Farms Ltd. Thousands of locals signed a petition to keep the pub as a public house, but it was reported that it had been sold “for alternative use” and was unlikely to reopen as a pub.

Historic England received a request for the pub to be given listed status protection just a week before it burnt down. This level of protection would require property owners to seek permission from the local council to change the physical features of historical buildings and landmarks. The organisation The Georgian Group was also examining the historic pub for listed status prior to the fire.

5th August 2023, a fire gutted the pub’s interior and destroyed part of the structure including the roof. The Fire Service was unable to access the area due to 8 foot mound of earth blocking the only lane leading to the building. Staffordshire Police have confirmed they treating the blaze as arson in a joint investigation with fire services and the council. Only two days after the fire the owners managed to have the 8 foot high mounts of dirt moved, allowing them to gain access and then have the remains of the crooked house, which was now only an empty shall demolished leaving local residents in up raw. The owners were ordered to rebuild it, but has now won the right to appeal giving them to spring 2025, postponing the public inquiry.