Mystery prefabs – can you help us locate them from this list?

Can you help us solve these prefab mysteries? We are tidying up the map prior to making it better, and taking out the prefab locations that we haven’t been able to verify. In the two years since we started we have mapped over 90,000 post-war prefabs of the 156,623 erected under the Temporary Housing Programme (Emergency Factory Made Homes).

There are several reasons why these particular locations cannot be verified, and in some cases we just don’t have enough information, so local knowledge would be useful!

  • Maps for the relevant period are either too large scale or not available (or part of the map is missing/indistinct) for that period and the prefabs may have been demolished or dismantled in between map series.
  • Where prefab bungalows (or other prefab types) appear on large scale maps (eg 1:10,560) it is not always possible to count them as they sometimes appear as solid blocks. The prefab bungalows and Swedish houses are distinctive and recognisable on the 1:1,250 and 1:2,500 scale maps.
  • Permanent prefabs like BISF, Orlit and Airey houses, and the semi-detached Hawksley BL8 bungalows, cannot be easily distinguished from other semi-detached houses or terraces on any maps.

When we started the map we put in some curiosities like the interwar Nissen-Petren houses near Yeovil, and the Balnakiel Craft Village which is housed in prefabs. However they don’t really fit with the post-war prefab bungalows erected under the Temporary Housing Programme which the Prefab Museum was set up to celebrate and commemorate. We have also removed general information about an area, for example the total number of prefabs, or incorporated it into other markers.

We will keep a separate list of the curiosities and permanent prefabs that we were told and know about, and include this information on a section of the website. Permanent prefabs for example BISF houses have their own website with information and lists of streets where they still exist.

You can read about how we map the post-war prefabs here, and our location list of Swedish timber prefabs here.

If you have information, please let us know by leaving a comment on this post or email

Silver Hill, Winchester St Clements surgery was a group of prefabs just below the law courts. Comment on
Torbreck Street, Glasgow
Underhill, Barnet Source visitor to museum
Barton Road, Farnworth Source
Fleurs Place, Elgin 45 prefabs demolished mid-1960s. Source
Kenilworth Crescent, Greenock Prefabs located nearby
 Bucknall, Woodhall Spa  Chell Heath, Bucknall, and Trent Vale sites. Permanent Aluminium Bungalows.
A scheme for the erection of permanent aluminium bungalows for miners on the Chell Heath and Bucknall sites. To which approval had been given by the Ministry of Health, came before the Stoke-on-Trent City Council.There was a recommendation by the Housing Committee to accept an offer of 50 British Iron and Steel Federation houses, to be erected in Trent Vale and let mainly to miners. These houses went under the name of “Dyke” houses. Source
Thornliebank, Glasgow Source: May Gleed who lived in a prefab from 1946-52, Facebook
 Pinfold Lane, Southport  Southport’s first prefab. Source:
Bryncethin, Bridgend Source visitor to museum who lived here from 1954-5
Longfellow Drive, Bridgend Now the Bryntirion Estate Source Britain from above 1947
Sullington Copse, Sullington RH20 Indeterminate number of prefabs due to map scale

Blackmill, Bridgend Source
Castle View Road, Bilston Source
Irby, Birkenhead
Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire 5 prefab Dorran homes 51 and 53 North Street, 1 and 2 Park View and 2 Market Street demolished 2011-12 Source:
Carter Street, Hyde With photos of AIROH prefabs under construction. Source:
Harbour Crescent, Harwich Norwegian prefab homes sent as a gift after the 1953 floods.
Shellbeach Road, Canvey Island Earliest map 1958 Many prefabs were destroyed in the 1953 floods
 South Cave, Yorkshire  12 prefabs erected. Source Hansard
Godley, Hyde Prefabs were a familiar site in at least three areas of Hyde by 1950. The smallest site was at the bottom end of Water Street, where the Manchester Evening News once had a small distribution centre, with only four Prefabs. The largest two sites were at Carter Street (Tin Town) and the old Brickyard area of Godley Source
Barking Park, Barking reference to Nissen huts on Barking Park
Jardine Crescent, Coventry Source
Knowsley Village prefabs, Knowsley Comprising Homer Rd, Penrhyn Rd, Wheat Rd, Croft Rd, Alt Rd and Roach Avenue, the area is now an industrial estate. Demolished in the 1960s. Source:
Eskdale Drive, Jarrow NE32 43 Prefabs (2 storey Tarrans) to be refurbished 2015. Source:
 Maesgeirchen, Bangor  Source
 Clee View, Ludlow, SY8  Not sure if the prefabs are still there or if they have been reclad. Also Airey houses, some reclad.
 Mamhilad, Pontypool  Mamhilad, Pontypool


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  1. Peter Gale


    Dear Bloggers,

    I have a question about the american prefabs at Furze Lane Portsmouth. When we had to leave them in 1960 they weren’t demolished, they were ‘deconstructed’, carefully, with each piece marked by letters, A, B, C, etc., presumably so that they could be reconstructed in the right order. Each deconstructed prefab was stacked onto a low-loader for transportation, one to each low loader. As a ten year old I asked why, to be told that they were ‘going to Africa’. Responses to this story since have been disbelieving, and my searches in the local newspaper files of the time have proved fruitless. I wonder if any of them still exist – in a dry climate, eg South Africa, might they last longer? I was lucky enough to visit Cameroon last year, but I didn’t see my prefab. Does anyone else reading this blog have similar memories from those days?

    When we left our second prefab, a universal, in 1964, the asbestos panels were thrown together with no care taken at all. It would be fun to find out what happened. at Furze Lane.

    • prefabmuseumsite


      Hello Peter

      Thanks for contacting us with your very interesting question! Although we don’t know of any specific examples, it is entirely possible the dismantled prefabs were shipped abroad including to Africa. By the mid-sixties they were demolition-happy. We will be in Portsmouth on 6th May and will ask around! best wishes from Jane and Elisabeth



    Hi, I lived in a prefab as a child, we moved out in the early 60’s. These were by the Cheam Golf Club and some corn fields in Cheam Surrey. The address wrote and North Walk and Cuddington Way, cannot see them on your list though. Had a friend who in the early 70’s lived in 1 with her husband and children and that was in Tadworth in Surrey, always felt like coming home when I went to visit her. such great memories of an amazing childhood.

  3. Malcolm Jackson


    Hi there was prefabs in faversham Kent on mill field estate I was born there 1950 till we moved in 1968

    • prefabmuseumsite


      Dear Malcolm

      Thank you very much for contacting us with information about prefabs in Faversham. We have located them on Arden and Millfield Roads, and have put them on our map with a credit to you. best wishes, Jane and Elisabeth

  4. Reply

    Hello Both. I have managed to find, what I believe to be some Aerial photographs of the Knowsley prefab site which is now an industrial estate.
    They are available on the Britain from above website
    Even better, if you register for free on the site you can actually zoom in to each image and actually make out the buildings.
    It’s great for exploring other areas too.
    I hope this helps and good luck with your continued search.

  5. Mr John turner


    I was born in 1954 and lived in wooden Nissan hut which was painted black in the middle of the room was a big black wood fire stove and was at the end of Thames Road Barking at the back of us was a farmers field full of cows.

  6. Susan Knowles


    If Neil Midgley would like to contact me I can tell him all about 18 prefab Swedish houses in Cronton (was at the time in Lancashire now in Merseyside). My parents moved into one in 1946 and lived there all their married life, I lived there until I married in 1969. When my parents died I sold the house in 1991 (they had bought it on “the right to buy”) I still have the sale brochure with photo. Ours was a dormer and was also built with an AGA oven and fridge, bathroom and a huge garden. All the houses are still there in a road called Smithy Close and all lived in permanently.

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