All change at Fradley

Published: Friday, 29 October 2010

With the acquisition of the boatyard at Fradley Junction by Marine Services at Fradley Junction there is to be a whole series of improvements to the shop, office and dry-dock, and also to services for boaters and other visitors.

Plans are being presented to British Waterway for its approval to renovate the interior of the main shop and office building—in keeping with its history—and for the provision of necessary advice regarding improvements to the dry-dock, Harry Arnold writes.

Dry dock

Apart from general renovation, improvements to the dry dock will include new lighting, energy efficient light-reflecting and heat conserving ceiling panels and heating and extractor fans; creating an interior working space and facilities in a dust-free environment and enabling quality paint jobs to be completed throughout the year.

Stop planks, the original sluice gate and the associated masonry structure will be renovated and the protected exterior working space will be reinstated; to improve facilities for carrying out repairs, welding, servicing and winter maintenance. BW also plan to inspect the brickwork and coping stones which edge the canal at the dock entrance.

Basic chandlery

The shop has been expanded to sell a wide range of goods including basic chandlery, gifts, leather hats, newspapers and waterway magazines, waterway guide books, eco-friendly cleaning products in keeping with the waterways requirements, second-hand books and other miscellaneous items. Food is stocked, including local produce, health foods and gluten-free products. Requests for regular special orders are welcomed.

The whole site has been improved by clearing years of accumulated rubbish, repainting, and the planting of bulbs and other plants. Nest boxes are being put up for birds including the returning swallows which are so much a part of summer at Fradley Junction.

Waterway people

Marine Services at Fradley Junction has a company philosophy of being here for waterway people—crews of passing boats, visitors by road and the local community—responding to requests and treating people as people not just as sources of income. Boating customers are welcome to an early morning cup of tea or coffee in return for a contribution to the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

The team is managed by Vivienne (Viv) Scragg and she and they bring many years of experience of living on and working with canal boats, with Viv remarking:

"We all appreciate the long history of Fradley Junction and its present day importance as an attraction as a centre for both waterway users and the public, especially since BW established the nature reserve. Marine Services at Fradley Junction welcomes all—please come and see for yourselves what is being done.

"We are very pleased that the 2011Inland Waterways Association National Festival will be held just down the Trent & Mersey Canal at Burton-upon-Trent at the end of next July. Marine Services at Fradley Junction would like to offer all bona fide festival entrants a 10% discount on pump-outs and Calor gas and some shop sales items when passing through Fradley Junction en route to or from the event."