Fradley is a vibrant Staffordshire village located just off the A38, ten minutes drive away from the historic cathedral city of Lichfield and twenty minutes from the premier shopping centre of Burton-upon-Trent. It is also conveniently located for access to the A5, M6, Tamworth and Birmingham.
The residents of Fradley enjoy many local amenities, including a post office, a new shopping centre, a recently extended primary school, a spacious village hall and a parish church with a modern extension for small community gatherings. The Fradley Arms Hotel is on the opposite side of the A38 and a new public house is planned for a site close to the new shopping centre.
Local children are well catered for, with a multi-use games area in Hay End Lane and two new play parks on Fradley South.
Employment opportunities often become available on Fradley Park, an industrial centre which includes the well-known companies Tesco, Faurecia, Hellman Worldwide Logistics, NTN Bearings, Caterpillar Logistics, Swish UK and Zytek.
A Brief History
Fradley first appeared in 12th-century records as ‘Frodeleye’, or ‘Frod’s lea’. Historically it formed part of the parish of Alrewas until, in April 2009, Fradley and nearby Streethay split from Alrewas and Orgreave to form ‘Fradley with Streethay’ parish.
Prior to World War II the village comprised only St Stephen’s church, St Stephen’s school, a number of farms and smallholdings and a scattering of private dwellings. During the intervening years the village has seen momentous changes, starting with the construction in 1939 of the famous RAF Station Lichfield on Fradley Common.
In August 1940 the Royal Air Force moved in, along with Hurricanes, Oxford and Anson aircraft. Spitfires arrived in 1941 and Wellington Bombers followed in 1942. Alongside RAF personnel training in the Wellingtons, there were a large number of Australians and some Canadians and Czechs.
The RAF left in 1958 and the whole site was sold by the Air Ministry in 1962. In 2000 a memorial to all who served at RAF Lichfield was constructed opposite St Stephen’s church, which is home to the war graves of the Australian aircrew and one German Luftwaffe pilot who lost their lives. Their graves continue to be treated with great reverence by the community.
Fradley has over recent years absorbed many changes, but parts of the village still retain much of their original charm and character.
St Stephen’s Church, built in 1861, still stands proudly on the corner of Church Lane and Old Hall Lane. A quaint Victorian schoolhouse, which had stood beside it since 1875, was demolished in 2008 to make room for modern classrooms to accommodate Fradley’s burgeoning child population.
Though no longer used as working farms, Bycars, Bridge, Hilliards Cross and Old Hall farms can still be seen. Old Hall Farm was built in the 1500s, when it was known as Frodley Hall. Also in Old Hall Lane stands Lodge Croft, a three-storey house dating back to the 1750s. The Old Smithy, where farmers used to bring their horses to be shod, has also survived at the Church Lane entrance to the old village.
Fradley is surrounded by canals and nearby Fradley Junction is where the Trent & Mersey and Coventry Canals merge. A well-known local beauty spot and hive of boating activity, it remains one of the Midland’s most peaceful and picturesque waterside locations.
In 1998 major redevelopment started on the former airfield, with the construction of factories, warehouses and houses. Today Fradley Park, a 300-acre warehousing and distribution development, covers most of the airfield.
Various attractive housing developments have appeared around the village and the completion of Fradley South shopping centre in 2009, comprising retail units, offices and food outlets, has led to the formal re-categorising of Fradley as a ‘key rural settlement’.
Walks in Fradley
The canals provide the basis for some interesting but relatively easy walks in the area. A “Guide to Fradley Junction Including Walks” leaflet is available free of charge (as well as lots of other tourist info) from Kingfisher Cafe at Fradley Junction.