Fradley was first mentioned in 1768 when an Engineer called Brindley won the contract to build the canal from Coventry, to link with the Trent and Mersey at Fradley, unfortunately even in those days money was a problem with him only just getting enough to allow him to build up to Atherstone, the project was put on hold. Until 1783 when a consortium called the Coleshill Agreement won the contract to finish the project, and so as we see it today the Coventry canal meets the Trent and Mersey canal at Fradley Junction.
St Stephens’s church in Fradley is home to the graves of the Australian airmen who lost their lives in the Second World War, there is a memorial site opposite the church in their honour. Also roads on a newly built housing estate in Fradley South are named after some of those brave men.
The Fradley Aerodrome was started in 1939, It was first built of turf and a gang of Fradley women spent weeks stone picking to complete the task, but the large aircraft that used it soon got bogged down, so as the Wellingtons and Lancasters continued to get stuck the airfield was eventually concreted. Before this there were 6 small farms in the village which used to produce mainly milk including Bromley Farm, in the bad winter of 1941 it took the Bromley farmers a full day to deliver the milk by horse and cart from their farm in Fradley to Kings Bromley. Soon after the war Fradley was to change, houses went up on the airfield to house RAF personnel 85 in total were built. In 1959 these houses were sold off to Lichfield Rural Council to house council house tenants from around the city, Some of these residents are still on Fradley South which it is now known as, Over the last 15 years major developments have occurred, Industrial units have appeared and also over 750 new homes.
Fradley Home Guard
This picture has been provided by Mr George Arblaster and shows the Fradley Home Guard around 1940.
Back row (L-R): Spooner, G Bates, Ted Begley, Billy Begley, W Osbourne, Hyatt Wood, Reg Woolley, Mick Hallam, Harry Yates, (?)Ken Woolley
Middle row: Charlie Arnold, Dick Williamson, Bert Kirkland, Joe Wren, Bob Brown, ?, Norman Backhouse, Jack Kean, John Grundy, Norman Watson
Front row: Philip Hancock, George Osbourne, Walter Arblaster, Ted Spooner, George Arblaster, Frank Askew, Tom Mansell, Jim Rayworth, Ted Wilson, Jack Arnold
Extracts from St Stephen’s School Log Books
June 28th 1875
The Reverend W Inge opened this school on Monday the 28th June. Seven children were admitted. Two came from Alrewas School. Very little notice had been given of its commencement in consequence of not knowing whether Miss Shrines could commence at Alrewas. Two more admitted on Tuesday. Mr Sellick came on Thursday.
22nd July 1875
Only seven children at school, on account of a huge flood in Fradley. Water in several houses.
Report of the Diocesan Inspector, February 28th 1877
The religious instruction in this little school is very successfully imparted. The knowledge of simple Bible Stories is very good, and the repetition of Creed Hymns texts &c is correct and distinct. The school is classed as “Good”.
20th June 1877
Wednesday. Gave the children a half day’s holiday. All the Fradley Infants met at Mrs Shaw’s at half past 2 o’clock to have a rosette which Mrs Shaw had kindly made pinned on each child. Then Mrs Shaw put them all in a wagon to go to Alrewas Cottage to Mrs Sellick’s to have tea with the Alrewas children.
9th July 1878
Several children absent for haymaking. Gave a Scripture lesson “The Creation”, “Fall of Man” and “Expulsion from Eden”. Commenced teaching 7 times table.
21st June 1887
A whole holiday in commemoration of Her Majesty’s Jubilee. Tea and amusements provided for the children this afternoon.
27th July 1887
Holiday on account of the Flower Show.
4th December 1893
I have today entered upon duties as Mistress of Fradley School. Admitted three children. Monitor absent through sickness.
F S Hooker.
29th July 1897
Florrie Davis very defiant and naughty. Punished with one stroke on right hand. Absent on Friday because of punishment by order of “Grandmother”.
23rd September 1897
The vicar caned 3 boys before the whole school for rude behaviour to Miss Nettleton.
22nd November 1897
Girls over 9 years and boys over 8 years sent to Alrewas School as HMI advised because of outer offices.
21st February 1902
A poor attendance all this week. Edith Hallam, Frank Perry absent because of bad chilblains in their feet. Mistress’s time spent for most part with infant classes to instruct new monitress.
20th February 1906
Three children continually late, viz Mabel, Harold and Doris Sandars. When reproved, their mother wrote in a most disrespectful manner.
(Note at start of a new Log-book: Head Teacher paid £90 per year 1900. F S Hooker.
1st July 1908
All children over 5 years old put up into second class under Miss Eva Hooker. Mary Jane Woolley had to leave; there is therefore no teacher for third class. Vicar visited this afternoon.
20th April 1914
Dorothy Maud Hooker allowed to remain after marriage until Summer Holidays. (Dorothy Maud Turner).
31st August 1914
School opened today. Gertrude Mora Jennie Hooker appointed to take the place of Dorothy Maud Turner.
1st May 1923
F S Hooker given in her notice to the Managers