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British pub burned down and bulldozed to be rebuilt as it was – twisted | Radio-Canada

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As it happens6:24British pub burned down and bulldozed to be rebuilt as is – twisted

When England’s historic Cooked House pub began leaning on its side more than 250 years ago, it was by accident.

But now – after the pub was gutted by a mysterious fire and then demolished – the council has ordered its owners to rebuild it as it was, this time voluntarily.

“When the news broke we were all absolutely delighted,” said James Raybone, a member of the Rebuild The Crooked House campaign. As it happens host Nil Köksal.

“The first victory has been won, but now the battle truly begins to ensure that what is ordered is actually carried out and that House Crooked returns.”

“People were literally sobbing”

The pub in Himley, England, was built as a farm in 1765, but began to sink on one side due to intensive coal mining in the area, widely known as the Black Country because of its mining history.

Around 1830 it became a pub. It has since been a popular local watering hole and tourist attraction.

But in August 2023, Crooked House caught fire.

The fire, which police are investigating as arson, happened two weeks after the pub was sold by pub retailer Marston’s. to a company called ATE Farms, which also owns other properties in the area. Three people were arrested and later released on bail in connection with the fire, but no one has been charged.

A display of broken chairs, pieces of bar, plastic containers and a urinal is erected in front of a pile of debris.  Throughout the debris are handwritten signs reading: "Reborn from the ashes," More than a pub," And "A crime against the Black Country – happy hour is over."
At the site of the Crooked House pub in Henley, England, community members gathered everything that had survived the fire and bulldozers and created a makeshift memorial to the well-known watering hole. -love. (Submitted by James Raybone)

Two days after the fire gutted the building – and before a cause could be determined – the new owners bulldozed what remained of the building without permission.

According to Raybone, this sent shockwaves through the community and people immediately began to gather at the rubble site.

“People were literally sobbing,” Raybone said. “It was an absolutely unique building and suddenly there was nothing left but a pile of bricks.”

Support from the mayor

After widespread protests from the community, South Staffordshire Council said in a statement this week that it had “engaged with the owners” and ordered them to rebuild the pub “to return to what it was was before the fire” by February 2027. , or face prosecution for non-compliance.

The notice was served on the owners of ATE Farms, Adam and Carly Taylor, and the company secretary. They have 30 days to appeal the notice.

“We have not taken this action lightly, but we believe it is right to hold to account the owners who demolished the building without consent,” said Roger Lees, chairman of the council. “We are committed to doing everything we can to rebuild Crooked House.”

A man in a suit smiles against a backdrop of vast green countryside.
James Raybone is a member of the Rebuild The Crooked House campaign, a grassroots network which emerged after a famous unhinged pub in central England was gutted by fire and then demolished. (Submitted by James Raybone)

Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands region who supported the rebuilding of the pub, welcomed the decision. In a video posted on social networksHe said the bar’s owners flouted laws meant to protect heritage buildings.

“The owners have the wrong pub, wrong community and wrong authorities,” he wrote in the same message.

CBC was unable to reach the owners for comment. No contact information is listed for ATE Farms, and the Taylors have not commented publicly on the fire or the rebuilding order.

More than just an ad

Raybone says he and other Black Country residents have fond memories of Crooked House.

“It was a place where you went with your grandparents. It was a place where, when you got your driver’s test for the first time, you just got in the car and drove there,” he said. declared.

“For the inhabitants of the Black Country, it is a symbol of the Black Country and a bit of their identity.”

It was also, he says, a really strange experience.

“When you first arrived, nothing was normal,” he said. “It was very disorienting. But once you sat down and had three or four pints, things got a little better, shall we say.”

Raybone says his work with the Rebuild The Crooked House campaign has shown him the power of community advocacy.

“I think it showed that if something really bad happens, the community will galvanize and come together,” he said.

“A people power movement… can still bring about positive change. And I think that’s really important. It’s brought a lot of people together.”



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