Last Saturday, a devastating blaze tore through The Crooked House in Himley, near Dudley. Just 48 hours later, the pub was razed to the ground as authorities investigated the possible arson. The Crooked House had been a beloved local pub renowned for its unique structure, with one side lower than the other, causing optical illusions. The distinctive leaning effect was a popular tourist attraction.
Amid the wreckage, fans of the pub gathered on Strand Road to pay tribute, leaving heartfelt notes and flowers. With its 16-degree tilt, the iconic building was propped up by buttresses made of bricks and metal bars. The pub’s closure was already a source of sorrow for locals, and the fire further deepened the sense of loss.
Reports surfaced regarding the pub’s new owners, Carly Taylor and her husband Adam Taylor. Carly was said to be the director of ATE Farms Ltd, which purchased the pub. Allegedly, there were disagreements between ATE Farms and Marston’s, the previous owner, regarding shared access roads.
Mrs Taylor is also a director of multiple other companies. She has “a life of luxury” after “striking gold” after meeting her partner, now husband – leaving behind a hairstylist and nail technician career. The couple is known to live a high-end lifestyle and live in a large house in Leicestershire.
Her social media highlights her lavish lifestyle with photos of her posing with a handbag under the Eiffel Tower in Paris and she also is the owner of a Bentley. Another photo shows her sat in first-class seats on a plane.
A customer at a nearby pub Mr Taylor used to visit said: “Carly struck gold when she married Adam. She’s his second wife.
“She once ran a hairdressing and nail business, now she runs a business and property empire.
“She’s done very well for herself and both she and Adam work really hard.
“But she lives the life of luxury too and enjoys travelling in luxury to nice places.”
The couple owns a range of companies and properties and are “always on the lookout” for new business opportunities. Mrs Taylor owns another pub, the Sarah Mansfield Country Inn, which is based in the village of Willey, Warwickshire, just a few miles from her home.
A relative told MailOnline: “I think she thinks she is better than everyone else since she married into money.
“She seems to go here there and everywhere, judging by Facebook.”
A mother person known to her explained how Mrs Taylor “loved shopping for designer handbags”.
The pub’s tragic fate ignited suspicions, and investigations pointed towards arson. Police treated the fire as suspicious and appealed for information. Amid the confusion, the decision to demolish the entire building raised more questions. The bulldozing occurred despite initial agreements for partial demolition. They have stated they’ll keep liaising with Mr and Mrs Taylor as the inquiry goes on.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Chisholm, Head of Specialist Crime, said: “We understand the significance of this much-loved building and the upset and anger felt by many so want to reassure you we’re doing all we can to understand more about what happened, and who was responsible.
“There is lots of misinformation circulating within communities and online, which is unhelpful. We’re trying to provide accurate and timely updates, but as I am sure you can appreciate, there is a lot of work and liaison with a number of partners which needs to be completed and this takes time. “There are also certain things that police and fire do not have the powers to deal with, the decision around partial demolition of the building for example when the scene was handed back to the owner. 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.”
“There are also certain things that police and fire do not have the powers to deal with, the decision around partial demolition of the building for example when the scene was handed back to the owner. 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 council is now investigating potential breaches of the law surrounding the demolition. The situation has left the local community perplexed and seeking answers. As inquiries unfold, the public is urged to refrain from speculation, allowing authorities to conduct their thorough investigation.
Roger Lees, leader of South Staffordshire council, said: “The agreed course of action included the removal of three elements of the first-floor front elevation only. This was only to avoid the weak parts of the structure from falling. The council did not agree to demolition the whole structure nor was this deemed necessary. “This council finds the manner in which the situation was managed following the fire completely unacceptable and contrary to instructions provided by our officers.”Police have cautioned against people speculating as to the fate of The Crooked House pub. With their investigations underway, the public will need to wait until they finish. However, one advertising exec, seemingly so moved by the burning watering hole, has promised to reward “handsomely” any “whistleblower” who can tell them how the historic pub ended up as rubble.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, stated that the sad demise of The Crooked House has evoked a strong response from the public. An advertising executive has even offered a reward for any “whistleblower” who can shed light on the events leading to the historic pub’s destruction.
Conservative MP for Dudley North, Mr Longhi is angry about the demolition of the pub and has requested that further details be made public, given the speed of demolition.
“As an MP even I am not encouraged by the way matters were dealt with by the relevant authorities,” he wrote.
“If the police are investigating the fire incident, then why would the site be demolished whilst the police are conducting their enquiries, which may possibly require a forensic examination to gather evidence?”
A petition with 7,000 signatures has emerged, urging for the pub to be reconstructed, and a public gathering is scheduled for Tuesday night at the location.