Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

The Crooked House of Himley

The Crooked House of Himley
14 Jan
2019
For this month’s Discovering Britain Viewpoint, Laura Cole heads to the Crooked House of Himley, a pub embedded in the Black Country

For more great walks, trails and viewpoints, be sure to check out the new Discovering Britain Facebook page by clicking here.

db logo jpeg large

The name should be warning enough, but the first sight of the Crooked House is still disorientating. Getting there involves following a narrow track through an isolated patch of woodland, under a dismantled railway and through what was once the mining heartland of Himley, Staffordshire. ‘Mind the bend, or yul be in the cut,’ warns a chalk sign, ‘cut’ being the Black Country word for canal. Waiting at the end of the path is the wide, brick face of the Crooked House. Its walls are tilted at an angle of 16 degrees – four times that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

‘You get used to it after a while,’ says Mark Edwards, barman at the Crooked House. ‘It’s only when we have a new staff member that we realise how much we have to steady ourselves against the walls of the corridors.’ The floor and bar itself have been levelled off, making the walls and large windows seem all the more skew-whiff. For visitors, Edwards often rolls a marble on the table, which appears to move uphill thanks to the room’s strange aspects. Meanwhile, getting to the lounge involves walking downhill because the lounge side is four-foot lower than the bar.

‘It is the cheapest place to drink,’ says a Wolverhampton local. ‘You feel pretty far gone after just one.’

The tilt comes from a bad case of subsidence. The building, once a farmhouse, lies on the boundary of an estate heavily mined for coal in the 1800s. The ground was hollowed out to such an extent that the south side of the boundary began to slump, bringing the building with it. In 1830, it became known as ‘The Siden Arms’ – ‘siden’ meaning crooked in the local dialect. 

The Black Country spans the region northwest of Birmingham roughly covering Dudley, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton. Its name is thought to derive from the 30-foot-thick coal seam that lies close to the surface – or belching from industrial smoke. Mining for coal, sand, clay and limestone was common across the area. Though this dried up in Himley in the early 20th century, the pub continued to subside. In the 1940s it was considered too dangerous and closed to the public. Luckily, Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries saved the building by installing brick buttresses, wedging it in place on the south side. ‘We now have glass filaments installed over cracks to monitor whether or not the building is moving,’ says Edwards, quickly adding, ‘just in case.’

VIEWPOINT

• Location: West Midlands
• Type: Urban
• Duration: 15 minutes
Click here for more details

Unearth more of our nation’s history and find more great walks, trails and viewpoints around the UK at discoveringbritain.org or via the new Discovering Britain Facebook page.

This was published in the January 2019 edition of Geographical magazine

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

Related items

Subscribe and Save!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in UK...

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain, Laura Cole visits Cuckmere Haven…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain viewpoint, Laura Cole visits a…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain trail, Laura Cole visits Chester,…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain Viewpoint, Laura Cole heads to…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain Trail, Laura Cole visits Bristol,…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain viewpoint, Laura Cole visits Kennington…

UK

New research demonstrates the harsh reality of UK immigration policy…

Discovering Britain

On this month's Discovering Britain trail, Laura Cole heads to…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain viewpoint, Laura Cole visits a…

UK

‘Iconic mammals of the hill’ see populations dwindling in the…

Discovering Britain

In this month’s Discovering Britain, Laura Cole visits Winchester’s chalk…

UK

A new interest in Cornish mines has been sparked amid…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain viewpoint, Laura Cole checks out…

UK

An ambitious, long-term project is hoping to bring trees back…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain trail, Laura Cole follows the…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain viewpoint, Laura Cole visits Hay-on-Wye,…

UK

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU is likely to lead…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain trail, Laura Cole walks up…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain viewpoint, Laura Cole visits the…

Discovering Britain

For this month’s Discovering Britain Trail, Laura Cole visits Norwich,…