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The Glynne Arms - The Crooked House
The Glynne Arms, Himley. 'The Crooked House'.
This famous establishment, although not strictly located in Gornal, is just over the border in the Parish of Himley and probably one of the most famous pubs in the country - maybe the world.
I make no excuses for including it!
This was originally built as a farmhouse in 1765, the house was converted to a public house around 1830 and thereafter called the Glynne Arms after the landowner at the time Sir Stephen Glynne, in recent times it has been given the popular 'The Crooked House' signage as most would know it.
The sensational appearance is due to mining subsidence that occurred in the middle of the 19th century, this canted the building over 15 degrees, most buildings would have collapsed with this amount of disturbance, but with the addition of supporting buttresses it has remarkably survived.
The locals know it as the 'siden house', or 'sidin' (side-in) this being a local expression for crooked.
The Crooked House is remotely situated at the end of a winding lane, passing quarries and landfill sites, under two derelict bridges which once carried the mineral railways from nearby collieries, the areas industrial past is buried in time although presently this is far from being a picturesque setting.
The approach route may be spoilt but this unique tourist attraction remains one of the great obscurities of the Black Country.
Just entering the establishment gives an unsettling feeling of inebriation long before the effects of alcohol, fixtures and fittings have been customised to suit and a marble apparently rolling up the slope of a table is quite bizarre.
The Glynne estate bordered land with that of the Earl Of Dudley, and the house virtually straddles that border, sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century, coal was inadvertently mined from below the building on the Glynne side.
Subsequently, one side of the house subsided into the mine workings without any apparent damage to the structure and has remarkably survived 'crooked' ever since.
The Estate belonged to the Glynne family since 1779, Sir Stephen was the brother-in-law of Liberal politician William Gladstone, enterprising Glynne became part owner of the Oak Farm Iron and Brick Works.
Although successful at first, bad management had set the company on a downward spiral, in the later part of the 1840s, Gladstone helped rescue Glynne from near bankruptcy when the enterprise got into difficulty, although the Oak Farm Company managed to struggle on, it was eventually sold off after Glynne's death in 1874.
The building was condemned in the 1940s and due for demolition, however to save the 'Crooked House', the buttresses which were already in place on the south side were strengthened.
In the early fifties, it's future was still uncertain due to structurial issues and was declared unsafe.
In 1957, the then owners - The Wolverhampton and Dudley Brewery spent 10,000 on repairs to make the building safe, it wasn't until this time that electricity was installed.
A fire in 1986 damaged some of the upstairs and roof, the brewery spent 360,000 on a facelift the following year.
So it continues to stand today with its unusual tilt, is still licensed and still providing much amazement!
Many picture postcards have been and are still being produced for this popular tourist attraction.
The John Price & Sons printing company in Bilston produced a large series of postcards depicting local scenes and landmarks during the early 20th century.
Several postcards were produced in the early 1900s with views of the 'Crooked House' illustrating inside and outside which are both equally remarkable, these cards were printed in full colour.
The following three postcards show the 'Crooked House' as it was referred to around 1900.
Another John Price Postcard probably a little later but still with Sarah Ann Glaze signage over the door but the landlord standing in the doorway may be Samuel Green, as another version of this exact view has 'Samuel Green' on the sign.
CDM Collection
1841, John Cartwright, miller, farmer and beerhouse keeper. [Census]
The property was referred to as 'Cartwright House'.
1851, Polly Cartwright, farmer of 30 acres. [Census]
At this time the propery was referred to as Himley Oak Farm, Polly was John Cartrwright's widow, aged 66.
1861, Joseph Woodcock, inn keeper. [Census]
1871, Joseph Woodcock, inn keeper. [Census]
1881, Unhabited. [Census]
1891, Thomas White, licensed victualler. [Census]
1901, Sarah Ann Glaze. [Census]
1904, Mrs. Sarah Glaze. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1911, Sarah Ann Glaze, publican, widow age 57. [Census]
1912, Mrs. Sarah Ann Glaze. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
Mrs Sarah Glaze purchased the pub in 1927. She had been managing the pub since 1899, Sarah died in December 1937 aged 84 years.
1925-1935, George Henry Glaze - this was Sarah Ann's Son.
1940, George Glaze. [Kelly's Trade Directory]
1940, the Glaze family sold the premises to Johnson & Phipps Ltd., Wolverhampton.
1952, Samuel Green.
1970, Arthur John Lowe.
2010, Wayne Penn.

Another postcard view probably c1915
Many of the old postcards slightly exaggerate the appearance.
CDM Collection
Postcard view looking outwards from the front doorway.
CDM Collection

Postcard view of the bar room, always lots of strange angles.
Among assorted bottles, a Julia Hanson poster hangs by the window (Hansons brewed at Upper High Street, Dudley) and also a Bass & Co. Old Strong Ale sign sits in the foreground.
CDM Collection
Picture of the front door c1970.
CDM Collection

These two black & white picures were part of a set distributed by Arthur John Lowe, Licensee c 1975.
CDM Collection