Thursday, 20 June 2013

Interesting Postcards

The Crooked House,
Nr. Wolverhampton,

These are very early Edwardian postcards, the second one being postmarked 1902, the first taking its detail from an item in 'T.P's Weekly' originally published on June 17th, 1904. It says it all so much better than I could, so here it is in full:  

Near the eastate of Earl Dudley, at Himley, there is a very curious habitation known as 'The Crooked House'. It is a red brick building with a wide passage right through, leading to back premises. It is altogether out of the perpendicular, and slanted towards the south end, which is heavily shored up with thick red buttresses. Some part of the outer wall is buried several feet in the ground.

These peculiarities are the result of mining operations - the under-stratum of the earth is these parts being completely 'honeycombed'. It is as difficult to walk steadily through the doorway as to pace the deck of a vessel in a rolling sea. as you walk along the warped floor your head and shoulders lean very palpably across the passage, and to maintain the equilibrium is a matter of the greatest difficulty. The rooms of the house are equally out of joint, and present some remarkable optical illusions.

The clocks on the walls, although absolutely perpendicular, as their pendulums testify, appear to be hanging sideways at a very pronounced angle. A short glass shelf, one end of which appears to be a foot higher than the other, proves to be absolutely level, while in the tap room, is a table which is apparently slanting, but on which if round marbles are placed at the seemingly lower end they roll to all appearance uphill to the top of the table, and fall over with a bump. These do not exhaust the remarkable features of this curious tenement, but those quoted fully justify its title to the name of 'The Crooked House'.  

Remarkably, despite modern ideas about about Health & Safety, The Crooked House is still in situ and, even better, it's now a pub!

The back of this postcard threw up one of those haunting messages from the past that collectors sometimes find. It's not terribly clear, but it appears to say: 

Dear Aunty, am sorry to tell you that Frank was killed on Thursday and is going to be buried at at Pensnett on Tuesday at 3.30.' 

I can't really read the rest, but it signs off 'love to all'. Fancy using a postcard of a Crooked House to convey all of that pain. Over a hundred years later, it still hurts to read.


  1. You really need to experience the Crooked House firsthand to appreciate its true weirdness.

    Walking in is like being clubbed about the head with a heavy club (unless I was), that's how disorientating it is the second you step into the bar.

    The walk from the bogs back to the bar, or to the more restrained lounge at the back, is like walking along a ship's gangway during a very bad storm ... Believe me, I've done both.

    Warning to the weary traveller though, avoid staggering out of there after dark. Gornal isn't the nicest of places for strangers to be wandering about, full of real ale and looking like they've just stepped off a 6 month cruise.

  2. I think the line before 'Love to all' is 'hoping you are well.'