Unofficial Crooked House security guard camped outside pub for 12 days

A man has spent 12 days and nights camping outside the Crooked House pub ruins to make sure no one takes the bricks.

Rob Brown hopes his actions will help ensure the burnt-down building, which used to be known as Britain’s wonkiest pub, is rebuilt.

He has been sleeping in his campervan, while also using it to vet any vehicles approaching the site in Himley, near Dudley, in the West Midlands.

‘I’m trying to save our heritage and get the builders to build the pub where they knocked it down in the first place,’ the 57-year-old explained.

‘I’m trying to protect the Black Country’s heritage before it all gets under soil or houses get built on top of it all.

‘I’ve been here about 12 days so far, 12 days and nights.

‘I’m essentially acting as a security guard for the night, making sure that no one comes in and removes anything from the pub site.

‘I’ve used my van to block the road occasionally. When the two cranes have come which no one knew about and then dumper trucks that nobody knew about.’

He has already successfully blocked cranes and a dumper truck from entering, claiming protesters had been kept in the dark about their intentions.

Rob said most people who turn up, however, are ‘sound’, and sit down with him and other protesters for a chat and a cup of tea.

A former patron of the Crooked House, he said local residents and fellow protesters have kindly given him water, hot food and even a carvery during his stay and he sleeps comfortably each night on a memory foam mattress in his van.

He felt compelled to do something after learning the pub had been demolished following the fire.

‘My main aim is getting it built back, it should have never been touched,’ he said.

‘I’ve got so many memories in that pub from when I was young, from boy to man and when I was courting.’

He praised his fellow protesters for their help with food and water.

‘It’s been brilliant everyday here,’ Rob said. ‘There’s been carvery for dinner today, hot food most times. Bags and bags of food and water, milk and everything. Everything I needed.

‘I’ve got a double bed in the back of my van with a memory foam mattress so I’m actually quite comfy.

‘There’s a couple who stopped in their car one night with me, but I think it might have got a bit too much for them because they’ve disappeared.

‘It gets dark here but it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t faze me.’

Rob, a dad of five daughters, said he will have to leave the site soon.

‘There’s not a lot more that we can do really,’ he added. ‘The council are here with all of their red tape.

‘It does worry me having to leave it as you can only assume what will happen.’

He said the pub was ‘too old’ to disappear for good.

‘It’s got to be kept for the youths to learn what it’s all about. It was a farmhouse first, then it was barns, then the crooked house.

‘There’s so much history there and it’s being touched.’

The Crooked House pub had been bought by a new owner, Carla Taylor, just weeks before it burnt down on August 5.

So far a 66-year-old man from Dudley and a 33-year-old man from Milton Keynes have been arrested on suspicion of arson. They have been released on bail while the probe continues.

Several people headed to the site of the Crooked House after it was demolished on August 7, lamenting its loss and hoping the pub could be rebuilt.

South Staffordshire Council have denounced the demolition as ‘completely unacceptable’ and said an investigation would take place into potential breaches of both the Town and Country Planning Act and the Buildings Act.

Source – The Metro