Nissen Huts in Bentham Road, Hackney

Nissen Huts. Bentham Road, Homerton, London
Nissen Huts, Bentham Road, Homerton
Pat and Kathy in front of the Nissen Hut, Bentham Road, London E9

The Nissen Huts were distinct from other, more military huts.  I have never seen any pictures anywhere resembling our huts.  They consisted of a brick built front and back curved from the base upward.  A two foot six brick plinth stretched the length of the hut on either side. With iron window frames at the back. One for each of the two bedrooms.  The whole front half of the hut was one big room.  There were two metal window frames on either side of a porch with a side front door and sloping roof.  Inside in front of one of the windows was a sink and cooker area.  The walls and ceiling inside were obviously curved and clad in a sort of thick plaster board type sheet of a softish porous material a bit like fibreboard.  In the centre of the hut facing the open living area was a brick fireplace with mantelpiece quite high up.

The wall separating the two rear bedrooms from the front living space stretched the width of the house and must have helped support the corrugated asbestos roof.  Obviously there was a bedroom door on either side of the fireplace. The toilet was outside in a little building split into two with a sloping corrugated asbestos roof. The other half was a coalshed. Both had wooden doors.  There was a generous garden area front and back with a concrete path leading to the wooden front gate. On the chimney pot was an aluminium cowl which turned in the wind.  Not bad little places actually and better than the tower block which replaced them in about 1955. Although it was cold in the Winter, hot in the Summer.

The huts in Bentham Road and surrounding roads in May 1946 highlighted in red and green. The central area in colour shows the Google earth photograph of what exists there now. Green areas are the original roadways, not the pavements. These are superimposed over both the original wartime
aerial view of the area and the modern view. This shows our hut to have been aligned with the turning opposite, Annis Road, and it would have stood on what is now the front lawn of the skyscraper. The one other building which can be seen in the three pictures taken of me in front of the hut is on the corner of Annis road and Cassland road and is still there although it has now been re-rendered and some of the windows filled in.

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