For those wanting to catch a piece of housing history before it disappears - work on the demolition of the prefabs on the corner of King James/Milcote streets SE1 has just begun. Site will be part of this development:
"Erection of a part three, part four, part five, part six storey block comprising 34 residential flats with private terraces/balconies, communal courtyard and roof garden with pergola and cycle parking; erection of 6 three storey 4 bedroom town houses with private gardens and provision of a community allotment garden"
Blimey! I thought the last of the prefabs went decades ago! I moved out of London in 1969, from a prefab in Minnow street, just off East Street. They were demolished in the early 1970's and I thought they were just about the last in South London to go. So much for the 'temporary accommodation' they were designed as, to house families that had been bombed out during the war.
It's amazing that they've lasted so long, when you think of estates like the Bonamy, built in the late 60s and having to be demolished by the 90s because they were so jerry-built, and temporary prefabs now into their 7th decade!
When I was growing up I wanted to live in a prefab - better than the horrible flat we had that had no bathroom!
When I moved to my prefab in 1957 I was ten years old. I really thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Until then I'd known nothing other than the top floor of the four-storey Victorian tenement I'd lived in since birth. No electricity, only gas mantles, and no hot water. Then came the prefab with both of those luxuries, and a neat little garden as well. Along the dividing fence between us and our neighbours there was a veritable forest of hollyhocks. In summer they really were a sight to behold. I've still got some old photos of them, but unfortunately only in black and white.
Sadly, that could never have happened, Jan. They were always on borrowed time, but obviously remained longer than intended at the time they were built. One of the many jobs I had in my ill-spent youth was as a scaffolder's labourer in 1967. One of the jobs I worked on was a block of flats in Poplar. It was known as Rowlet Street back then, but I think that was flattened to make way for the flats. One block had a seperate lift tower alongside, joined by a footbridge on every other floor. It was quite famous at the time, having been designed by a guy named Goldfinger who, apparently, was a world famous architect. He occupied the top flat for a while and invited tenants in for the odd glass of Champagne while he quizzed them on what they thought of their accommodation. He then used that feedback for future projects. It's taken me a long time to get to the point, sorry, but that block of flats is now Grade-two listed. who would ever have thought that.