ray smith

Ray Smith at the Excalibur event, St Mark’s Hall, Catford. Ray lived in a prefab with his family in Penarth until his family relocated to London. Photo Elisabeth Blanchet

UK100s willesden

The American (UK100) prefabs in Willesden where Irene Ottaway lived until they were demolished in 1968.


June Kapitan and her family outside their Tarran prefab in Ipswich. Archive June Kapitan

This page is for prefab memories, stories and photos. We ask for your patience while we upload the many image, sound and video files to this new website. Please read our blog posts on various topics, from the history of prefab manufacturers, prefabs in France, how we go about mapping the prefabs, the difficulty politicians in the mid 1940s had in grasping the prefabs concept and many more. Read memories of prefabs in Clock Face, St Helens,  and a list of the prefabs in Southampton and their locations.


Ted Carter in his prefab at Ector Road, Excalibur Estate

Ted Carter in his prefab at Ector Road, Excalibur Estate. Photo Elisabeth Blanchet

We lost our good friend and prefab volunteer Ted Carter in February 2017. Here he is in his Excalibur Estate prefab surrounded by his beloved vintage radios, that he repaired and cherished. Read our tribute to him on our blog post and in the issue of the Prefab Post which is dedicated to the Excalibur Estate. Read Brian Clare’s memories of growing up at 17 Meliot Road, which later became the home of the Prefab Museum.

Prefab memories on film and sound

Andree and Pat, sisters who grew up in a prefab in Selly Oak, Birmingham

Andree and Pat, sisters who grew up in a prefab in Selly Oak, Birmingham. Photo Elisabeth Blanchet

Olive Welfare and George Warren share memories of growing up in an Isle of Dogs prefab

Olive Welfare and George Warren share memories of growing up in an Isle of Dogs prefab. Archive George Warren/Olive Welfare

In the meantime why not watch and listen to the video interviews we have made? Click on the photos to watch or visit the Sound and Vision page to view more. You can also listen to podcasts here

Abbots Gardens Shrewsbury Peter Ford

Peter Ford outside his prefab in Abbots Gardens, Shrewsbury. Archive Peter Ford

John Chinery recalls his prefab in East Dulwich, London

John Chinery recalls his prefab in East Dulwich, London. Archive John Chinery

Read J0hn Chinery and Peter Ford’s East Dulwich and Shrewsbury memories of growing up in prefabs. You can also visit Elisabeth’s archives page The Prefab Collection here.

It will be a work in progress as we collect and share more memories during our Moving Prefab events and exploration. Please send us your memories, we love to hear about them! Contact us via email prefabmuseum@gmail.com, leave a comment on our blog posts or if you are on Facebook or Twitter let us know there. As we edit the many oral histories we have recorded we will make them available here.


Eva contacted us via email in early August 2016, after looking at our map.

I read in the GLIAS newsletter that you are on the lookout for old prefab sites.  As a schoolgirl I lived in the Hall Green district of Birmingham, and remember three rows which were built on sites near the River Cole at the time.  A lorry-load of German prisoners-of-war would arrive and they dug the foundations and made the concrete bases. I don’t believe that many of the actual prefabs survive, though it’s possible that one or two in Wake Green Road near Sarehole Mill have been preserved.
We didn’t live in one ourselves,  but the family of my room-mate in College did. Her father was a postal worker in East Ham,  and she told me how pleased they were to be relocated there,  with all mod cons., but unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with her.
We lived in Hall Green, Birmingham, from 1945  onwards. My mother was still living there until around 1980,  and I would often visit her. There were two rows of prefabs parallel to the River Cole between Highfield Road and Trittiford Lake. These are the ones I saw being put up.  I don’t know what the postal address was, on you map it appears to be Brookwood Avenue.  But I really don’t remember there being any actually in Cole Valley Road, and I have a good visual memory. The area around the River Cole between Brook Lane and Highfield Road,  parallel to the river,  was called The Dingles, and subject to a great deal of flooding at times.  Gardens on the river side of the road would be under water  – we lived on the higher side.
I think that there were actually about three or four prefabs in Trittiford Road,  opposite Chinnbrook Road and you don’t have those on the map. Could your informant have been thinking of those?  I do remember the ones in Coleside Avenue which he also reported.
My family were German refugees from Hitler, so I and my two siblings spoke German quite well and got into conversation with one of the prisoners-of-war. This was before the news of concentration camp atrocities became public.  My mother must have felt sorry for these soldiers, some of them quite young,  far from home,  and sent them apples from our garden.  Later they moved on to another site, where we visited them again  – from your map,  it may have been Hollybrook Road,  but there weren’t many road signs in sight just after the war.  They had been taken down to frustrate any possible invaders and new ones weren’t being made yet. As I remember it,  this was a pretty large site,  but I didn’t ever see the prefabs,  once built.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.