Cheers To Being Crooked Again. Quirky English Pub Bulldozed After A Fire To Be Rebuilt As It Was

The burnt out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley, England, on July 8,, 2023. The owners of a quirky 18th century British pub destroyed in a fire last year have been ordered by a local council to rebuild it, keeping with its previous lopsided specifications. The watering hole — known as the Crooked House for its leaning walls and tilting foundation — in the village of Himley in central England, was gutted by a fire and subsequently demolished last August. (Jacob King/PA via AP)
The burnt out remains of The Crooked House pub near Dudley, England, on July 8,, 2023. The owners of a quirky 18th century British pub destroyed in a fire last year have been ordered by a local council to rebuild it, keeping with its previous lopsided specifications. The watering hole — known as the Crooked House for its leaning walls and tilting foundation — in the village of Himley in central England, was gutted by a fire and subsequently demolished last August. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The owners of a quirky 18th century British pub unlawfully bulldozed after a mysterious fire last year were ordered on Tuesday by a local council to rebuild it — and to stick to its original, lopsided dimensions.

The watering hole — known as the Crooked House for its leaning walls and tilting foundation — favored by many locals in the village of Himley, central England, was gutted by a fire and subsequently demolished last August.

Its demise saddened many in the village, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) northwest of London, and became the subject of a criminal investigation. Three people were arrested and later released on bail in connection with the blaze but no one was charged.

In a statement, the South Staffordshire Council said it had “engaged with the owners” and now ordered the pub rebuilt “back to what it was prior to the fire" by February 2027 or face prosecution for failing to comply. The notice was served on owners, Adam and Carly Taylor and the company secretary of ATE Farms, which bought the inn. They have 30 days to appeal the notice.

The fire took place two weeks after the pub was sold by operator Marston’s. Two days later — and before a cause could be determined — the pub was bulldozed without authorization, which raised questions among local residents.

Roger Lees, the leader of the council, praised campaigners whose “aim is to see the Crooked House back to its former glory.” More than 35,000 people joined the ‘Save The Crooked House (Let’s Get It Re-Built)’ Facebook page.

“We have not taken this action lightly, but we believe that it is right to bring the owners, who demolished the building without consent, to account and we are committed to do what we can to get the Crooked House rebuilt,” Lees said.

Andy Street, the mayor of the wider West Midlands region who has supported the pub's reconstruction, welcomed the decision in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Fantastic work from South Staffordshire Council,” Street said.

The pub, originally built as a farmhouse in 1765, started sinking on one side as a result of extensive coal mining in the area, which is part of England's region widely known as the Black Country, a reference to its industrial and mining heyday in the mid-19th century.

Around 1830, it became a pub and was called The Siden House — siden meaning crooked in the local dialect.

In the 1940s, it was renamed the Glynne Arms but was condemned as unsafe and scheduled for demolition until a forebear of Marston’s bought it and made it safe.

Renamed as The Crooked House, it became a tourist attraction, drawing visitors to admire its odd structure, one side standing about 1.2 meters (4 feet) lower than the other.

Now, there is only three years to go until the pub rises again and thirsty regulars can sip a beer — or two.