Prefabs in Sopwell

The years following Word War 2 saw the building of thousands of prefabricated dwellings all over Britain. Familiarly called prefabs, they provided homes for returning servicemen and their families. Many of them were built in Sopwell and some of them are still to be seen in Mitchell Close. The following is the text of an article from the Herts Advertiser of 17 August 1948.

St Albans Aluminium bungalows: Fifty Erected on St Julian’s Estate

“…It takes from twenty minutes to half-an-hour to put up one of the aluminium bungalows now in course of erection on…the Council’s St Julian’s housing estate and it is hoped that the first of this new batch of dwellings will be occupied by the second week of September, although the erection was only started on August 4th. The site itself has been under construction since February. These fifty Hawkesley’s aluminium dwellings which will form some of the residences in Lectern Lane, Holyrood Crescent and Creighton Avenue are very pleasantly situated on a slope, affording an uninterrupted view of St Albans with the Abbey on the left and St Peter’s Church on the right in the distance. Placed in three rows, they follow the contours of the hill from North East to South West with a fourth block from North to South. The bungalows, which are of a permanent type, with an estimated “life” of sixty years, are ideal for a family of three, though in some cases they may be used to accommodate husband and wife and two children. The aluminium bungalows arrive in four pieces all complete with fittings and, in next to no time, are assembled to give a modern, easily-run home with living room, two bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. Everything is to hand for the housewife in the kitchen, where down one wall the kitchen unit has been placed with sink, gas stove, refrigerator, gas boiler and table all sis by side. The kitchen backs on to the bathroom so as to facilitate the use of one plumbing unit. Commodious cupboards both in the kitchen and other rooms are a welcome feature. The housewife’s trusty companions – brooms and mops – have a compartment especially designed for them and the built in wardrobes in the bedroom are another useful addition. Electric plugs are placed about the bungalows and there is a built in wireless aerial nearby the metal construction premises. The bathroom is fitted with a towel rail, mirror and a cupboard. These are the first dwellings built on the St Julian’s Estate which will eventually be developed in various types of traditional material.”

Similar prefabs were built in Mitchell Close and Tavistock Avenue. The Mitchell Close prefabs are still there.

 

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