DUDLEY MP Marco Longhi promised to “fight tooth and nail” for the restoration of The Crooked House at a packed public meeting called to inform and reassure locals in the wake of the pub’s destruction.

More than 100 people crammed into last night’s meeting at Himley Hall, organised by the Dudley North Conservative MP who recalled his own fond memories of visiting Britain’s wonkiest pub which was sold by Marston’s to a private buyer just two weeks before it was destroyed.

Stourbridge News: The packed public meeting called about The Crooked House, held at Himley Hall on August 16The packed public meeting called about The Crooked House, held at Himley Hall on August 16 (Image: Cordelia Noble)

He told people the iconic Himley landmark absolutely can be rebuilt but people need to be patient.

Stourbridge News: Dudley North MP Marco Longhi pictured at the meeting he organised to campaign for the rebuild of The Crooked HouseDudley North MP Marco Longhi pictured at the meeting he organised to campaign for the rebuild of The Crooked House (Image: Cordelia Noble)

The MP said when he first heard the news about the August 5 fire and then the subsequent demolition of The Crooked House, which dated back to the 18th century, he felt “physically unwell”.

Stourbridge News: The Crooked House after it was hit by fire on August 5The Crooked House after it was hit by fire on August 5 (Image: Jacob King / PA Wire)

Stourbridge News: The rubble remains of The Crooked HouseThe rubble remains of The Crooked House (Image: Matthew Cooper / PA Wire)

He added: “The place is much more than a pub - that place is history, and we in the Black Country have a great affection and pride for all of that.”

But he said he felt buoyed by a meeting on Tuesday that he and Sir Gavin Williamson MP held with chiefs at South Staffordshire District Council.

Stourbridge News: Sir Gavin Williamson and Marco Longhi MP in a meeting with senior officials at South Staffordshire District Council on Tuesday August 15Sir Gavin Williamson and Marco Longhi MP in a meeting with senior officials at South Staffordshire District Council on Tuesday August 15 (Image: Sir Gavin Williamson MP)

He said: “We are going to do everything we can to rise from the ashes.”

But he warned: “We’re running a marathon not a sprint – we have to be patient -we have to let due process take its course.”

The MP also said he would make it his priority when Parliament is back to campaign for a law change to try to prevent the destruction of other beloved UK pubs.

Stourbridge News: Marco Longhi MP addresses the packed public meeting at Himley HallMarco Longhi MP addresses the packed public meeting at Himley Hall (Image: Cordelia Noble)

He said: “I would love to see a Crooked House law. We will not rest until something is done and that legislation is tight enough.

“I will be pursuing this every day I’m back in Parliament.”

He told the meeting the Black Country Living Museum had offered its expertise for a rebuild and that Professor Carl Chinn had also pledged his “full support”.

Numerous locals asked whether it would wise or even viable for the pub to be rebuilt in its original setting.

Stourbridge News: The Crooked HouseThe Crooked House (Image: SWNS)

Martin Day said: “It’s not going to be safe where it is – it’s not particularly viable where it is – it’s in the way of a landfill company.”

He also called for an ethical disposal clause to be included in any new legislation to provide protection for historic public houses being sold off by pub companies looking to offload assets.

Stourbridge News: Audience members at the meeting at Himley Hall called to discuss The Crooked HouseAudience members at the meeting at Himley Hall called to discuss The Crooked House (Image: Jacob King / PA Wire)

A number of people also raised concerns about the state of the area surrounding The Crooked House site.

Paul Craig told how the single-track lane leading to the pub was regularly littered with fly-tipping – and this had impacted upon trade. He said mattresses and fridges had been dumped and this had put people off visiting, despite the pub’s renown.

There were calls for the lane to be properly instated and lit if the pub is to be rebuilt in its original setting.

Stourbridge News: Josephine Moore gives her views at the meeting about The Crooked House, held at Himley HallJosephine Moore gives her views at the meeting about The Crooked House, held at Himley Hall (Image: Cordelia Noble)

Meanwhile, horse rider Josephine Moore told how she used to ride by The Crooked House “and it was beautiful”. But she said the last time she visited the area it looked “disgusting” due to the fly-tipping – and she described the smell from the nearby tip as “terrible”.

Patricia Aston, who lives next door to The Crooked House site, said she was devastated by what has happened to the pub and she added: “I still cry now about it, I can’t believe it’s gone.”

Gaynor Langford from Gornal Wood spoke with passion about the pub and how its demise had shocked people across the world and she described The Crooked House “as the jewel in the Black Country’s crown”.

She added: “This is going to be a very busy pub if it reopens. I don’t think money’s ever going to be an object – everybody is so passionate about it.”

Stourbridge News: Crooked House campaigners outside Himley HallCrooked House campaigners outside Himley Hall (Image: Jacob King / PA Wire)

Mr Longhi said he’d do his utmost to keep the saga of The Crooked House in the public eye, although he urged people against posting speculative comments on the campaign Facebook page which has gone from around 250 members to nearly 20,000.

He said he would update everyone when he has any meaningful news going forwards and he promised: “I’m not going to let it go.

“I will fight tooth and nail.”

Stourbridge News: Marco Longhi MP at the meeting at Himley HallMarco Longhi MP at the meeting at Himley Hall (Image: Cordelia Noble)

Councillor Damian Corfield, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for highways and environmental services, said afterwards: “To see the outpouring from local people and the support for what The Crooked House was and what’s happened – it’s really encouraging.”

In the meantime, an investigation by Staffordshire Police – who are treating the fire as arson – is continuing, alongside a probe by South Staffordshire District Council which has said the pub was demolished without permission.