Avoncroft, Bromsgrove in the Midlands. There is a lovely open air museum there with buildings from different eras.
For us, the icing on the cake is the prefab!
A post-war one, an Arcon MKV, which was saved from demolition in Birmingham in the 80s to be re-assembled in Avoncroft Museum. Refurnished with original furniture from the mid-40s as well as period objects and knick-knacks, it looks pretty inside. As it does outside really, surrounded, as it originally was, by a garden.
Jane and I first visited the prefab in January 2016. We chatted with Michelle, Hamish and Tracy who work at the museum about the possibility of organising a prefab event there. We agreed and thanks to our HLF funding we managed to be able to do it over a weekend last month on the 23rd and 24th of July. And it was a fabulous weekend!
Surrounded by 1940s re-enactors, vintage cars, 40s music bands, we welcomed visitors either in the prefab or in the Cockpit where we held our temporary exhibition about prefabs.
In both places we encouraged people to tell us their prefab memories, so they can be part of our unique prefab archive. We interviewed and filmed a few ex-prefab residents. As usual, we collected wonderful stories: John Bashford told us touching stories about gardening in his nan’s prefab as a kid; John Green gave us some very detailed memories of his prefab – a pre-post-war prefab! built in the early 40s in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire. Denise was born in one, too young to have her own memories but told us what her mum used to say about the prefab and sisters. Andree and Pat gave us a wonderful recollection of their childhood in an American prefab in Birmingham. And many people also wrote on our participation board with memories and locations of prefabs from Wishaw in Scotland to Torquay in Devon, as well as Birmingham and the West Midlands.
Between interviews and chats, we hardly had the time to breathe! And while we tried, we had no respite as we were entertained by indefatigable and hilarious re-enactors and… visitors ! We can’t wait for the next prefab event at the Chiltern Open Air Museum as part of their Terrific Tuesdays events! Come and join us, bring your prefab memories and photos or just come to learn how people lived, and the homes they lived in.
Elisabeth and Jane
Photos by Elisabeth Blanchet and Selim Korycki
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