Prefabs in Dalmuir, Clydebank

Child playing outside prefab in Dalmuir West, Clydebank
Aerial view of prefabs under construction at Dalmuir West

I came across your website after an attempt by an internet search to find information or pictures of prefabs in Dalmuir, Clydebank. I was surprised than none of the Dalmuir prefab sites were shown on your map.

Dalmuir is the most westerly district of Clydebank and suffered badly during the Clydebank Blitz in March 1941. A lot of prefabs were subsequently built on three sites that I can recall and I have indicated the location of these on the PDF attached, which is based on an OS map of Clydebank published in 1958.

My grandparents lived in a prefab at 919 Dumbarton Road, Dalmuir West, until the early 1960s, and I remember living there for a while as a child in the mid 1950s. The gardens were large and this suited my grandparents as they were very keen growers of vegetables and flowers.

I have attached a couple of images: one of me as a child playing outside the prefab beside my dad’s Norton motorcycle combination, and another showing an aerial view of the prefab site. I hope you find these of interest.

Building was of preformed concrete slab construction with metal window frames. There was an entrance hall, a fairly large living room heated by a coal fire, two bedrooms (one with a coal fire and the other with an electric fire built into the wall), a reasonably-sized kitchen and a bathroom. Gas cooker kept going by inserting a shilling into the meter as required. No mod-cons such as other prefabs had a short time later.

Postcript: they are Ministry of Works and Planning Standard Huts, sometimes called HORSA huts. The huts were used as accommodation for prisoners of war and later adapted for school buildings to meet the increase in the school leaving age.  Thanks to Adrian Armishaw for identification.

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Comments about this page

  • I have bit more information about the Peters Square prefabs, although they actually extended into Abbot’s Crescent. Sinclair Street and East Barns Street, giving a total of 42 households. Looking at my WWII identity card I see that I actually lived there from September 1944 to November 1949. As well as knocking out the gable end to fit fireplaces other “modifications” included installing a false ceiling and coating the floors with an inch or two of bitumen both to try and eliminate dampness and condensation. In both cases the houses had to be completely emptied of all furniture. The problem of rust in the water was cured by ripping out the original mild steel pipes and replacing them with copper. They also dug up all the mild steel water supply mains to each house and replaced them with cast iron. it looked like the first world war with trenches running from house to house.

    By George Smith (03/07/2021)
  • There were also prefabs built in Peters’ square. This is now the site of St. Margaret’s Hospice, in Barns’ Street. I lived there for about six years. Initially neither of our bedrooms had a coal fire, only a one bar heater in each. I remember the gable end being knocked out in the middle of winter to build fireplaces

    By George Smith (03/07/2021)

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