What were “Prefabs”.
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).