Express & Star

Poignant six month anniversary of Crooked House fire held by campaigners compiling memories of destroyed pub

The six month anniversary of the Crooked House fire was marked by campaigners swapping memories of the beloved pub.

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Campaigners marked the solemn anniversary by holding a memory event from 10am on Saturday with people pinning their memories on paper of the Crooked House to a tree and a specially erected board.

Weddings, anniversaries, landmark birthdays and retirement parties were all held at the pub as well as being the place where many Black Country couples met or went on their first date.

Councillors Bryn Challenor and Claire Sullivan pin their memories to the Crooked House memory wall

Campaigner Paul Turner was pleased with the turnout.

He said: "We have had a steady stream of people which is exactly what we wanted. We did not want everyone to come at once because of parking issues. We've had about 120 people throughout the day and cars have been parked all the way up the lane."

The Crooked House campaign group wants to keep the pub in the public eye to help their quest to get the building rebuilt, no matter how long it takes.

Paul said: "We wanted to mark the six month anniversary with a series of events, and letting people pin their memories to a tree is a nice way of remembering how important the pub was to so many people.

"This is going to be a very long process, we have got the criminal proceedings, the civil proceedings and then we will hopefully start working on getting the Crooked House rebuilt.

"It took six years for a pub which was demolished in London to be rebuilt so we know we are in for the long run, this six month anniversary will be the first of many."

DUDLEY COPYRIGHT NATIONAL WORLD PLC STEVE LEATH 03/02/2024..Pics at the Crooked House entrance, 6 months on event. Rosa 6 and Steve Banfield from Dudley..

John Hutchinson lived above the pub for ten years in the 1980s and 1990s and is determined to see it rebuilt.

He said: "We have over 30,000 supporters on Facebook and the committee are all prepared to work on this project for as long as it takes.

"I have so many memories of the Crooked House, being its relief landlord was an honour. I still cannot believe its not here anymore."

Dudley North MP Marco Longhi attended the event and spoke at length to campaigners who he has supported since the pub burnt down.

The MP left a heartfelt note along with the other memories.

He said: "You saw our coal mining, you saw our limestone mining, you saw the industrial revolution, you saw our suffering and our happiness. You saw US, our history, you will be back - brick by brick."

South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson also visited the site to encourage campaigners.

MP Gavin Williamson. With Paul Turner, former landlords John Hutchinson, Dave Shotton and Ian Sandall

He said: "It is hard to think it was six months when this terrible fire happened and we lost the Crooked House.

"However, the anger and sense of injustice that not just the people of South Staffordshire and the Black Country, and from across the whole nation about what had happened, now has given way to deep determination to make sure a pub is rebuilt on this site."

He added: "The campaigners are doing a brilliant job, and today again showed what happened here will not be forgotten."