Prefabs

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What were “Prefabs”.

One of the “Prefabs” on Stonehouse Road

During the Second World War, the UK lost tens of thousands of homes, either destroyed or made uninhabitable due to damage by enemy action; some were even lost to ‘friendly fire’ when they became part of army firing ranges or were demolished to make way for vital airfields. The result was a postwar Ministry of Works programme to build prefabricated homes (or ‘prefabs’ as they became known), in anticipation of a surge in the demand for housing as Service personnel were demobilised (or 'demobbed', as it was called). The cost, in 1945 terms, ranged between £663 – £1,161 Sterling, and there were several versions, including a steel-tubed framed house, a timber with asbestos cladding model, and an aluminium design. One of the main reasons for 'industrializing' the production of the houses in a prefabricated form was the fact that there was a distinct lack of skilled tradesmen to build houses of a more conventional type. They were either still in the forces, or had not been trained in the required trades, as house building for the civilian market was a very low priority during wartime (the WHOLE economy of the United Kingdom was 'directed' using emergency powers during the war).