1945 - Prefabricated Bungalow
The bungalow — from the Hindu word bang/a — was one of many ideas brought from India during the days of the British Empire. Lightly built, single-storey homes began to appear all over Victorian Britain, often as rural or seaside retreats where the well-to-do might spend the weekend enjoying fresh air and simple pleasures. Later, when Hollywood showed British movie audiences the ranch-style homes popular in America, the idea of the bungalow as a permanent home caught on. Whole estates of detached and semi-detached houses were built, proving especially popular with retired people who liked them for their convenience and the absence of stairs. During the Second World War a very distinctive kind of bungalow appeared. The war had caused a major housing crisis in Britain, with 475,000 homes destroyed and many more badly damaged. The post-war government instigated a massive programme to build new houses and, indeed, whole new towns. In the meantime, many homeless people were accommodated in simple prefabricated bungalows of steel, aluminium and asbestos cement. There were several basic designs, of which this is one of the most typical. Components were assembled in factories and delivered to the site where they could be erected by unskilled labour. Most had a small garden, which was a novelty for those who had been bombed out of the slums. Though intended as a temporary measure, some 'prefabs' were still being lived in over forty years later. Indirectly they had shown that there were alternatives to the traditional 'bricks and mortar' house, but this was nothing new at the time. Indeed, there had been experiments in building houses from pre-assembled components in Victoria's reign. Later there were even houses made of steel and iron which, predictably, were prone to corrosion in the British climate.