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Book reviews — February 2015

'Prefab Homes', by Elisabeth Blanchet
Shire Publications 2014, 64 pages, £7.95. ISBN 9780747813576
The British prefab originates from a committee set up by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1942. British experts were sent to America to study prefabrication there, and a British design emerged which made use of a standard unit combining both kitchen and bathroom. This unit could be mass produced in factories and all British prefabs made use of this standardised component. It was intended to build half a million of these new homes once the war was over. However, a total of only about 160,000 were actually built, from 1945 to 1949 when the project ended.

In all there were eleven different types of these post-war prefab houses built by a number of companies and this book describes and illustrates them. Where examples survive an indication of their location is given. The book also contains oral history: you can read some of the memories of people who lived in prefabs and there are also accounts of life on prefab estates. This book is a good introduction to the subject and can be warmly recommended to GLIAS readers. There is also a Kindle edition. Bob Carr

© GLIAS, 2015