Demolition of 187 Low-cost Prefabs in UK Slated

“Time is running out for Europe’s largest prefab estate. Lewisham Council, London, is planning to demolish all but six of the 187 prefab bungalows that make up the Excalibur Estate in Catford – and replace them with 371 modern homes.
This is unique 12-acre complex of prefabricated buildings. Built in 1945 and 1946 by German and Italian prisoners of war, the Excalibur Estate was supposed to be a temporary solution to the damage caused by the Luftwaffe’s bombs.

   Prefabs were built for returning soldiers and their families and provided what was, for those times, high levels of luxury. Designed by the Ministry of Works, they had two bedrooms, a fitted kitchen with a fridge and cooker, running hot water and an indoor toilet. They became known as Palaces for the People.

   These one-storey bungalows were meant to last just 10 years. However, the Excalibur Estate is still standing and there is a strong sense of community here.
The council has done little work to the prefabs over the years and any improvements have been made by the tenants.

   This unique slice of 20th-century social history is about to disappear. The process of ‘decanting’ has now begun, which means people have been asked to move out of the prefabs by the council. Sadly, the empty houses have become dumping grounds and are quickly falling into disrepair, which has dampened the mood on the estate.

Sent by Simon in the UK

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

5 Responses to Demolition of 187 Low-cost Prefabs in UK Slated

  1. Thanks for posting this Lloyd. It's interesting because most working class housing in the UK is either high-rise or twin-story terraced or semi-detached – small human-scale single detached houses like these are pretty rare.

  2. SAD
    lovely community, home are sturdy and in good repair. Also, they seem well designed for the folks… SAD

    (yup, thnk you got it right– some kind of overlord committee…)

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