The Crooked House tragedy: as it happened

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Look back: A timeline of events since the Crooked House burned down
Look back: A timeline of events since the Crooked House burned down

Related tags Health and safety Staffordshire

The burning down of Britain’s wonkiest pub, the Crooked House, last month, sparked national outrage. Investigations are ongoing, and several people have been arrested under suspicion of arson. We take a look back at events to see how the tragedy unfolded.

5 August

The iconic 18th​ century Crooked House pub in Himley, the West Midlands, burns down​ in a fire.

The pub was among the 65 sites pub company Marston’s announced for sale in January 2023. Its sale was well-publicised and completed two weeks before the fire.

Up to 30 firefighters extinguished the fire after receiving reports of smoke and flames from the venue on Himley Road at 9.58pm.

Crews from Kinver, Cannock, Chase Terrace and Wombourne were sent to the scene and began work to contain the fire with collages from the West Midlands Fire Service.

Firefighters used a high-volume pump and a number of main jets to extinguish the fire from outside of the building.

Staffordshire Police launch an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

6 August

A petition​ calling for a ‘proper inquiry’ into the burning down of the pub is launched.

It states: “An open public inquiry must be held into the burning and destruction of this remarkable building.

“The loss of this building is a major blow to the historical heritage of the Black Country – a building which had national and international renown.”

7 August

The Crooked House is bulldozed less than 48 hours after the fire. The local community reacted to the incident with outrage.

8 August

West Midlands mayor Andy Sleet calls for the Crooked House to be “rebuilt brick by brick”.

He also said any attempt to change its use in the future should be blocked, stating he would not let the pub “be consigned to history”.

On the same day, the South Staffordshire council said the demolition of the pub was “not agreed or deemed necessary”.

9 August

Police state they are treating the fire that burned down the pub as arson.

Detective chief superintendent and head of specialist crime Tom Chisholm said: “We are working hard with our fire colleagues to understand the cause of the fire and are in contact with the landowner, we will keep you updated with any further significant developments.”

11 August

The Campaign for Real​ Ale (CAMRA) demands pubs that have been converted or demolished illegally must be rebuilt “brick by brick” after finding more than 30 sites may have suffered such fates in the past six months.

CAMRA chairman Nik Antona calls the Crooked House blaze a “national tragedy”.

24 August

Two men are arrested​ on suspicion of arson with the intent to endanger life.

A 66-year-old-man from Dudley, West Midlands, and a 33-year-old-man from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, remain in custody and are being questioned by investigating officers.

2 September

Bricks are locked away in a ‘padlocking ceremony’.

The Save the Crooked House campaign group said it had communicated with contractors who agreed to secure the building’s bricks, The BBC ​​reported.

Around 200 people joined for the ceremony and also to see padlocks put on the containers, according to the group’s leader Paul Turner.

One of the keys to the padlocks would be kept by the contractors and the other by the campaign group itself, to ensure their safety, he said.

This comes after reports people have been taking bricks in a bid to sell them on Facebook Marketplace for up to £50 a piece.

7 September

Staffordshire Police confirm a 51-year-old man from Buckingham has been arrested on conspiracy to commit arson with intent or being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

This is the third person​ to be arrested in connection with the fire.

The man is released on conditional bail.

22 September

Police attend a protest​ at the former site of the Crooked House after receiving reports of a group of protesters there.

28 September

A man, 44, and a woman, 34, both from Leicestershire, are detained.

Staffordshire Police said they were held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson with intent or being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

The pair have since been released on bail while investigations carry on, the police added.

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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