Saturday, 26 May 2012
Cradley Heath is one of the older established settlements around Birmingham city. In Saxon times Cradley was a manor. It takes its name from 'Cradda's Ley' the Ley or Leah meaning a clearing or area of open land. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book as being part of the estate of William Fitz Ansculf of Dudley who owned much of the land on which Birmingham was built.
Cradley would originally have been agricultural land but with the expansion of Birmingham and industry it became a heavily industrialised area of the Black Country. In 1974 Cradley became part of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough and severed its historic ties with Halesowen to which it had been aligned.
Cradley Heath used to be famous for its ironworks but these have since closed. Industrial parks and some industrial units continue with traditional engineering trades, but many are run down and dilapidated. There are many working class pubs in Cradley Heath and a High Street with a range of small shops. There are also some good curry houses in Cradley Heath and nearby Lye.
The Merry Hill shopping centre is within a short distance away and this is of benefit to local residents although many local traders and traditional shops have closed down as a result of the competition that this has introduced to the already depressed retail sector of the independent trader.