Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closed

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Massive fire engulfs iconic
Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closed

An iconic pub - famed for its bar seeming to slide uphill - has been destroyed by a fire in devastating scenes.

The Crooked House, near Dudley, West Midlands, was engulfed in a large blaze since late last night. Fire crews from across both West Midlands Fire Service and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue remained at the scene, tackling the blaze for hours. Police are asking members of the public to come forward and provide information about the mystery fire.

Dramatic photographs taken shortly after the crews arrived - at around 10pm last night - show the devastation the blaze has caused. No injuries have been reported as the building has been derelict for some time, and was sold this week.

Locals have been paying tribute to the landmark this morning, with many expressing their deep sadness at its loss. One woman wrote online: "More history/memories gone up in smoke. Its so sad."

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Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closedCrews from two different fire brigades rushed to the scene late last night (BPM Media)

Another resident, who didn't get the chance to visit the boozer, said: "This is really sad. if you grew up in the Black Country then you knew about the Crooked House. I’ve never been inside and now I won’t."

A further regular at the pub said online: "The Crooked House has gone up in flames. Words fail me." Another posted: "Tragic. The Crooked House, by definition, can never be rebuilt."

Roads were closed last night due to the blaze, which caused thick smoke to billow into the night's sky and these could be seen for miles.

In a joint statement, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and West Midlands Fire Service said: "Crews from Dudley, Brierley Hill, Tipton, Kinver, Chase Terrace and Cannock were at the scene."

Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closedNo injuries have been reported following the fierce fire (BPM Media)
Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closedFire crews were alerted to the famous leaning pub last night (BPM Media)

A police forensics team have since been spotted in the pub car park investigating the fire. Staffordshire Constabulary said in a statement: "We are appealing for information after a fire at a derelict building in Himley late Saturday evening.

"Officers were called to a report of a fire at what used to be the Crooked House pub on Himley Road at 10:45pm last night (5 August).

"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."

Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closedPolice are pictured at the scene today as they investigate the blaze (Anita Maric / SWNS)

Lee Goodchild, 46, took over as the publican at The Crooked House in September last year. He says that he's sure the community will be "devastated" by the pub's sudden destruction, and Marston's had decided to sell the site as early as January this year.

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"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," Lee, who has worked in the industry for 25 years, said.

It emerged last week Marston's had sold The Crooked House to a "private buyer for alternative use". Dating back to 1765, it started sinking into the ground due to mining subsidence in the area and became known as 'the wonky pub' across the West Midlands and beyond. Made structurally safe in the 1940s, it was a family favourite over several generations.

The pub attracted visitors from all over the world due to its unique leaning effect which caused several illusions. It was famed for being the place where coins and marbles seemingly rolled uphill along the bar.

Massive fire engulfs iconic 'Britain's wonkiest' pub just weeks after it closedThe historic building was dubbed Britain's wonkiest pub (SWNS)

It has been a Grade II-listed building since 1960. Alan Boswell, an insurance broker firm, told Birmingham Live: "If you own a listed building, you must get listed building consent if you want to make significant changes to the property.

"This is because there are strict rules about the work you can undertake, especially if it affects the building’s character or appearance. You need to apply to your local authority to get listed building consent."

Anyone with information is urged to contact the force using Staffordshire Police's Live Chat systemat www.staffordshire.police.uk.

Alternatively, you can 101 quoting incident number 761 of 5 August, or to guarantee anonymity, contact Crimestoppers at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

Bradley Jolly

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