The prefab – Homes for Heroes
Tags: 1945, 1960s, 1970s, airfields, aluminium, aluminium design, army firing ranges, asbestos cladding, Birmingham, British Army, Cardiff, firing ranges, Hall Green, Llandinam Crescent, local government tenants, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Works programme, Museums, National History Museum of Wales, nationally significant buildings, newer housing, on display at the National History Museum of Wales, prefab, prefabricated home, prefabricated house, Preservation Order, re-erected at St Fagan's, school friend, Second World War, St Fagan's, steel-tube frame, tenants, timber, timber with asbestos cladding, timber with asbestos cladding model, unihabitable due to damage, vital airfields, Wales, WW2
During the Second World War, the UK lost tens of thousands of homes, either destroyed or made unihabitable due to damage; some where even lost to ‘friendly fire’ when they became part of army firing ranges or were demolished to make way for vital airfields. The result was a Ministry of Works programme to build prefabricated homes (or ‘prefabs’ as they became known). The cost (in 1945) ranged between £663 – £1,161 Sterling , and there were several types, including a steel-tubed framed house, a timber with asbestos cladding model, and an aluminium design. Here you can see a fine example of the last one. This house used to stand in Llandinam Crescent, Cardiff, but was removed, and re-erected at St Fagan’s, as part of the National History Museum of Wales collection. Prefabs were supposed to only last around 15 years, but a number survived into the 1960s and 70s. I can remember visiting a school friend who lived in one, and they were quite comfortable inside. When local government tenants were eventually asked to move out into newer housing, many resisted. There are a few still standing (in Hall Green, Birmingham, for example) mainly due to the fact that Preservation Orders have been enforced; these are now recognized as being nationally significant buildings.