The Crooked House of Himley

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The Crooked House, so called because of its lean, is a curious little attraction and a local watering hole located close to the village of Himley, which is about 4 miles west of Dudley, in South Staffordshire, England. One end of the house is four feet shorter than the other. The lost height went into Himley’s sinking ground, a side effect of decades of coal and iron ore mining in the area.

When the house was built in 1765, originally as a farmhouse, it stood erect as any normal building would. But as mining progressed, the land became unstable causing sections of the ground to collapse. Many buildings sank into the ground or moved, but the Crooked House moved more than the others.

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Photo credit: Chris Baker/Flickr

The house was later turned into a public ale house called “Sidden House” to serve the local miners and farm workers. “Siden” means crooked in the local Black Country dialect. When the estate came under the possession of the Glynne family, the pub was renamed to “Glynne Arms”.

Mining continued until 1875 when the associated blast furnaces, collieries, mills and other buildings were eventually sold off, on the death of the estate’s owner Sir Stephen Glynne.

Shortly after the end of WW II the house was deemed unsafe and closed to the public. It was scheduled for demolition, but a local business, Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries, recognized the building’s curiosity value and had it stabilized to prevent further sinking. The house hasn’t moved in years and is apparently quite safe again. Nevertheless, it is constantly monitored and tiny glass filaments are positioned over any cracks to check for movement. If the glass breaks it will mean the pubs shifting again.

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The ramp like structures on the left of the house are buttresses added to prevent the house from leaning. Photo credit: Phil Simmonds/Flickr

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Photo credit: Row 17/Panoramio

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Photo credit: Gary S. Crutchley/Flickr

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Photo credit: Mathew Cooling/Flickr

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Photo credit: Daily Mail

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Photo credit: Ryan Dean Stevens/Flickr

Sources: britainexplorer.com / www.discoveringbritain.org / blackcountryhistory.org

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