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Prefabs in Peril

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    This story seems to do the rounds every so often.


    "Eddie and Max fought on opposite sides during the Second World War but you could say they share a house. Eddie, a 94-year-old Englishman, lives in it. But 70 years ago it was Max, a German POW at the time, who put the place together, along with the 186 other prefabricated homes – or "prefabs" – that make up the Excalibur Estate in south London. For a while in 2008 Eddie and Max corresponded, but they lost touch – until on Eddie's birthday last year, a photographer found a way for Eddie to send Max another note. The letter read: "Thank you for the home."



    "It was a nice thing. He is always telling me the Germans did a good job", says that photographer, Elisabeth Blanchet, who speeds through the story in English that lilts to a French cadence.
    She thinks Eddie has a point. For 12 years, Blanchet has travelled to prefab estates around Britain, taking pictures of the modular homes and their owners. There aren't many left: 160,000 thrown up in a hurry to replace bombed homes, and house returning soldiers, were expected to last a decade. Long past its supposed lifespan, a sword now hangs over the Excalibur. Lewisham Council plans to demolish the prefabs and build new homes. Eddie and a few neighbours cling on. After five years of struggle to preserve their way of life, tomorrow there will at last be cause for celebration; a prefab museum, curated by Blanchet, is to open.
    The homes aren't so fine as they were in 1946, when the Excalibur was finished. On those left derelict, paintwork has peeled, litter settled in grass. Some lampposts don't work at night. But those still occupied remain spruce, and, says Blanchet, are "almost like an ideal home from a child's drawing. I like their simple design," she adds, "the almost-flat roofs, the corner window, the little garden. There's a feeling of cosiness."
    Born in 1970 in Normandy – in a town house – Blanchet moved to England for work, and found her outsider status encouraged tightknit communities to loosen up in front of the camera. "Being from another nationality, people will let you more into their home. They can't see from my accent if I'm posh or not," she says. "Also, it's a bit exotic: why does a French person have so much interest in prefabs?""
    http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/property/prefabs-in-peril-britains-largest-remaining-estate-of-the-postwar-homes-is-under-threat-9175004.html
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    When I was a boy prefabs could be seen all over London in large numbers. It's interesting how things which are familiar sights can quickly vanish. Full marks to the Imperial War Museum who have preserved an original 'prefab' at Duxford.......
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm sure they filmed one of the recent postwar episodes of Foyle's War on that estate.
     
  4. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Still a shed load in Northampton...Duston Village.
     

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