Fallen Angel

I’m certainly not the first person to write about the deteriorating condition of the Angel Croft hotel, and I suspect that I won’t be the last – it doesn’t look like it will be relinquishing its place on the English Heritage at Risk register any time soon.

Personally, I have no connection with the building, I’ve never even been inside. As awful as it sounds, I can barely remember the days when it actually was a hotel.  It seems to have taken on a new identity as a case study in decaying grandeur, about which regrets are expressed and rumours abound, but about which no one seems to know quite what to do.

Of course other people will have memories of the Angel Croft – a wedding reception,  a work do, a meeting, a reunion dinner, or even a weekend stay. Walking through The Close recently, I saw this plaque on a bench, and it reminded me of an intriguing story I’d seen on the subject of the Angel Croft and memories a while back.

It features on a blog about a man’s research into his great uncle Jack Purcell’ s time in the Royal Australian Air Force. Jack Purcell was posted to RAF Fradley and in the collection of his documents handed down to his great nephew Adam Purcell was a postcard of a view across Minster Pool marked with a small ‘x’. Adam believes the cross could be marking the Angel Croft Hotel… you can read the whole post in full here.

It’s a fascinating story, but also a good reminder that it’s not only buildings that are  vulnerable to the ravages of time, but memories too. Of course, it’s important to preserve architecture of note, but I have to ask, what are we doing to preserve the memories and stories that make buildings so much more than an entry on a list or register?

Note – I hope Adam Purcell doesn’t mind me featuring the story of his Great Uncle’s time in Lichfield. I shall contact him.


21 thoughts on “Fallen Angel

  1. It’s very sad to see no one restoring it. I have fond memories of my parents 40th Wedding anniversary celebrations there, as well as lots of meals with them downstairs in the old cellars, when they wanted to entertain the grandchildren. They did the best Bakewell Tart for miles around


    • Hi Frank. It is a sad enough site for someone like me who has no real connection, but for those who have memories of the building, it must be even sadder. I would very much like to see more recording of memories in Lichfield. There is a facebook group that do a great job, but I think perhaps something more permanent would also be good. I do love Bakewell Tart by the way!


    • I remember the Angel Croft Hotel well. I used to go there for tea on Sunday afternoons with my boyfriend and other friends when I was 18! Splendid days! It had such a lovely relaxing atmosphere. I also remember having family lunches in the restaurant, and on sunny summer afternoons, we would have tea in the garden there. What blissfull times and how lucky we were. I had no idea it had fallen into disrepair, what a shame. It is a lovely building, and it would be wonderful if someone could rescue it and turn it into a grand place.


      • What lovely memories, thanks for sharing them. I imagine the garden was beautiful. I hope that someone does rescue it soon, and that more lovely memories can be made there!


  2. G’day Kate,
    Thanks for the link – and I’m more than happy to see you’ve written something here about my very short visit to Lichfield in 2009. I was only there for a single morning and didn’t have much time to really explore the area beyond what was on my great uncle’s three postcards. I’ve enjoyed trawling through your blog archives… there are certain time periods of history that you just don’t see here in Australia!!
    There are (at least there were when I visited) significant remains of the old RAF Lichfield aerodrome at Fradley. As Don Charlwood noted, it was a very significant place for many Australian Bomber Command airmen. Maybe a subject for a future post?
    Best wishes,


    • G’day to you to Adam! Great to hear from you. I would very much like to follow up on RAF Fradley, and the crews from Australia and other commonwealth countries. As you might know from your visit, there has been lots of development in Fradley. I wonder how much people on the new housing estate know anything about the not so distant past of the area? Many thanks, Kate


  3. Very sad, it was quite the place.
    I seem to remember though there was an old section of cathedral spire (about 3 foot) in the gardens close to the side gate


    • Part of the cathedral spire? I wonder how that ended up there? And is it still there….I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s so great to hear stories like this! Thank you so much David.


  4. Yes, I think you’re so right about the Angel Croft. I’ve posted on this in the past, with my own photographs. It’s in a very sad state of decay, and is too much of an architectural treasure to lose. Some of our other architectural treasures re also in danger, including the former and once beautiful art deco cinema.

    Keep writing,



    • Thanks Patrick. I did link to your post actually, hope you don’t mind. Without wishing to state the obvious, the longer properties are vacant for, the more vulnerable they become and I imagine the harder it is to find someone willing to take them on. There has been a real problem down the road in Walsall where much of their heritage has been lost due to arson. I imagine the economic situation doesn’t help either but let’s hope that there is positive movement on this soon…. And thanks for the encouragement as ever, Kate


  5. How very sad! In the past I have passed this building hundreds of times and I have always admired it’s grandeur. What on earth are Lichfield City Council doing to let such an iconic building in the City go this way? Clearly the Council have failed the City in allowing this to happen. I only wish I could win the lottery I know where I would move to! I too have fond memories of going in to this building many times. Very very sad and changing times.


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  9. Hi Kate,
    I’ve just come across your wonderful blog when doing some research on the Angel Croft’s history. I As you may already be aware, Friel Homes are currently restoring the building and I thought it may be of interest to you that it was recently removed from the Historic England ‘at risk’ register!
    We have put some pictures of the work on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/FrielHomes/ and will continue to do so as the project progresses. Once the renovation is complete, we will be holding open days for anyone interested in seeing the building brought back to it’s former glory.
    We have also started collecting memories from former residents, staff and guests of the old hotel to preserve them as the building moves into it’s next phase of life as luxury apartments. If anyone is interested in sharing their memories, they can get in touch via email on info@friels.co.uk or telephone 01922 708860.
    Many thanks,


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