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 https://bisfhouse.com/ 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 prefabmuseum@gmail.com

Silver Hill, Winchester St Clements surgery was a group of prefabs just below the law courts. Comment on http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/yoursay/blogs/talking_shop/11333227.Winchester_Will_Never_Be_The_Same/
Torbreck Street, Glasgow http://www.theglasgowstory.com/image/?inum=TGSE01308&t=2
Underhill, Barnet Source visitor to museum
Barton Road, Farnworth Source http://www.boltonrevisited.org.uk/s-n-bury-s-wordsworth.html
Fleurs Place, Elgin 45 prefabs demolished mid-1960s. Source http://www.forres-gazette.co.uk/Features/Memory-Lane/Dancing-to-mark-leap-year-7701848.htm
Kenilworth Crescent, Greenock Prefabs located nearby http://www.greenocktelegraph.co.uk/news/13993148.Sweet_summer_fun_for_ice_cream_kids/
 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 http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/coalface/Housing/housing1947a.htm
Thornliebank, Glasgow Source: May Gleed who lived in a prefab from 1946-52, Facebook
 Pinfold Lane, Southport  Southport’s first prefab. Source: http://www.southportgb.co.uk/showthread.php?t=50392223&page=1
Bryncethin, Bridgend Source visitor to museum who lived here from 1954-5
Longfellow Drive, Bridgend Now the Bryntirion Estate Source Britain from above 1947 http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/waw006831?name=Glamorgan&gazetteer=Glamorgan&COUNTY=Glamorgan&view=list&ref=934
Sullington Copse, Sullington RH20 Indeterminate number of prefabs due to map scale https://www.old-maps.co.uk/#/Map/509476/114926/10/101324

http://www.sullingtoncommon.co.uk/history.html

Blackmill, Bridgend Source http://www.francisfrith.com/blackmill/train-breakdown_memory-335661
Castle View Road, Bilston Source http://www.francisfrith.com/tipton/bradley-bilston-and-stowlawn_memory-386301
Irby, Birkenhead http://www.francisfrith.com/heswall/heswall-royal-liverpool-children-s-hospital_memory-484571
Aberchirder, Aberdeenshire 5 prefab Dorran homes 51 and 53 North Street, 1 and 2 Park View and 2 Market Street demolished 2011-12 Source: http://www.banffshire-journal.co.uk/Banff/Postwar-prefabs-to-make-way-for-new-homes-915.htm
Carter Street, Hyde With photos of AIROH prefabs under construction. Source: http://hydonian.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/st-stephens-church-lads-brigade-1953.html http://hydonian.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/prefabs-in-hyde.html
Harbour Crescent, Harwich Norwegian prefab homes sent as a gift after the 1953 floods. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-21447467
Shellbeach Road, Canvey Island Earliest map 1958 https://www.old-maps.co.uk/#/Map/580857/182821/12/100954 Many prefabs were destroyed in the 1953 floods http://www.shrimperzone.com/vb/archive/index.php/t-57256.html
 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 http://hydonian.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/prefabs-in-hyde.html
Barking Park, Barking reference to Nissen huts on Barking Park http://valencehousecollections.co.uk/object/digital-photographs-of-the-evans-family-taken-at-the-former-military-or-nissan-hut-where-they-lived-in-barking-park-dagenham-circa-1945-1950/
Jardine Crescent, Coventry Source http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/guglielmomeardi/entry/george_shaws_tile/
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:   http://history.knowsley.gov.uk/guestbook/2001/ http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ENG-LIVERPOOL/2005-07/1120513384
Eskdale Drive, Jarrow NE32 43 Prefabs (2 storey Tarrans) to be refurbished 2015. Source: http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/community/prefab-homes-residents-win-fight-for-1-7million-improvements-1-7106626
 Maesgeirchen, Bangor  Source http://www.francisfrith.com/maesgeirchen/pre-fabs_memory-136311 http://www.francisfrith.com/maesgeirchen/maesgeirchen-prefabs_memory-289061
 Clee View, Ludlow, SY8  Not sure if the prefabs are still there or if they have been reclad. Also Airey houses, some reclad.https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prefab._-_geograph.org.uk_-_148108.jpg
 Mamhilad, Pontypool  Mamhilad, Pontypool

Jane

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2 Comments

  1. Peter Gale

    Reply

    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

      Reply

      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

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