Prefabs

Prefabs

Did you grow up in a prefab? Were you the first on your street to have an indoor toilet? Did your family grow vegetables in the back garden?

To address the post-Second World War housing shortage, over 100,000 prefabs were erected across the UK; they were lived and loved in and stood as a symbol of post-war optimism.
Prefabs were detached and had gardens all around. They were designed with fitted kitchens that included a fridge, cooker and water heater – they also had bathrooms with an indoor toilet and a heated towel rail.

Members of the Spring Chicken community have been sharing their memories:

‘My grandparents lived in one at Kenilworth. I stayed there loads of times and loved it. They had a coal fire and lots of fresh veggies and fruit from the back garden.’
‘I used to love going to stay with my aunt at the weekend. She always brought me toast and a cuppa in bed in the morning.’
‘My Nan lived in one that had a railway line right by the garden. I used to wave at the people on the trains, and sometimes they would wave back. Grandad grew lots of fruit out the back and Nan would make jam. My favourite was gooseberry. Those were the days.’
Prefabs could be established with little or no foundations, and competitions were held to see how fast one could be assembled and raised. The record was 40 minutes!

 

Image result for prefabs
Excalibur Estate in Catford south London By Le_Deluge [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Spring Chicken Facebook followers have been reminiscing about the change in seasons: how prefabs were ‘boiling in summer’ and ‘freezing in winter’. Members have been recollecting their other experiences, too…

‘I lived in a brand-new prefab in Hampshire, when my father was in the army. My mum put her stiletto heel through the floor and then found out you were not allowed to wear them in the house!’
‘My godmother lived in one and I can remember getting stuck in the toilet. The fire brigade had to come and get me out!’

While large numbers of prefabs were demolished in the 60’s and 70’s, they are still home to many across the country today.

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