Lavenham is a town in Suffolk, UK, which has a whole slew of houses that lean this way or that, with the exposed beams showing off their tipsy attitudes. It’s not because of an architectural fad or tradition; these houses were straight at one time. It’s because of economic boom and bust. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Lavenham was a booming and prosperous community due to the local wool fabric production.
The town grew so fast that many of the houses were built in haste with green timber. As the wood dried, the timbers warped causing the houses to bend at unexpected angles. Unfortunately, Lavenham’s good times didn’t last long. When Dutch refugees settled in Colchester began producing cloth that was cheaper, lighter and more fashionable than Lavenham's, the town’s cloth industry went bust. By the time the dried timber started twisting, Lavenham’s families had lost its wealth and with no money to rebuild their homes, Lavenham’s crooked houses were left as they were.