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.
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.”
The Crooked House is bulldozed less than 48 hours after the fire. The local community reacted to the incident with outrage.
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”.
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.”
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”.
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.
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.
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.
Police attend a protest at the former site of the Crooked House after receiving reports of a group of protesters there.
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.