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Palaces for the People: Prefabs in Post-war Britain [Hardcover]

Greg Stevenson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 May 2003
Devised as temporary housing after World War II, prefabricated homes fitted with all 'mod cons' represented the new way of living in post-war Britain. The fact that war-damaged aircraft were melted down to produce them and that POWs assisted construction, only helped to make the prefab a symbol of Britain rising from the ashes of war. And for the first time many found themselves living in well-designed accommodation with fitted kitchens, hot running water, new electric appliances, and an inside bathroom. Prefabs turned out to be more durable and popular than anyone could have foreseen, and these tiny palaces for the people became icons of post-war regeneration. Palaces for the People highlights the history of the homes built under the Temporary Housing Programme 1944-49, as well as two-storey prefabs such as the British Iron and Steel Corporation houses and Airey homes, and modular homes erected by London County Council. It illustrates construction methods, interiors, furnishings and gardens with a rich collection of photographs from original prefab residents, published here for the first time. It will be of interest to admirers of these temporary homes, and to all who wish to know more about the social history of British housing.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Batsford Ltd (29 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713488239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713488234
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 15.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,292,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Author

240 pages, over 150 photos, and details of all the British prefabs. Photos of exteriors, interiors, fixtures and fittings, gardens, aerial photographs, estate plans, construction photos... it is all here. It has been a joy to research this book, and I have been delighted with the response from readers. I hope that you enjoy the book.

About the Author

Dr Greg Stevenson works as an architectural heritage consultant and lectures at the University Of Wales, Lampeter. The author of the popular titles The 1930s Home and Art Deco Ceramics, his next project will be to save an Arcon prefab and rebuild it on his land as an unusual holiday let.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, loved the photos. 3 Aug 2003
I bought this book after reading a review in The Times, and was so pleased I did. Although it was a softback (not hardback as advertised), I was delighted my purchase. The photos are great, and rather than being a technical history, the book features the lives of prefab residents. There are illustations on every double page, and it is a great format, the designer has done really well. I have seen a couple of other prefab books, and these tend to be either based on American prefab systems, or the Brenda Vale book is a technical history that is interesting, but poorly illustrated. I found the chapter on Prefab Interiors particularly interesting, and the original residents photos were charming. In fact it is the recolections and images of residents with their beloved prefabs that makes this book the gem that it is. Now that we are losing the last of Britain's prefabs I hope a copy of this book is deposited in every town library, so everyone can read about these great houses. The only thing I would change about the book would be to include more information about contemporary perfab design, but you can't have everything!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A photographic treasure box. 29 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This book has lots of great photos; timeless pieces of people's lives. It's like having a sneaky peek over the garden fence back into the 1940s. I've flicked through it time and time again.
It's also a really interesting read, not just about prefab houses around Britain, but also about the whole era, and so anybody interested in modern history will find this a fascinating insight into how the normal people of Britain got on with their lives in post-war times.
I guess some people will find it a trip down memory lane as there are also photos of house interiors from this time. The prefabs of the book's title are all around the country, from Essex to the north to Wales.
I'm sure you'll enjoy this book, whether for the informative text or the fascinating and plentiful photos.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-visiting my childhood 15 Sep 2003
I found this book purely my chance because I was searching the internet for general info on prefabs. I lived in a prefab in Southend-on-Sea, Essex for the first ten years of my life and we all loved living there - unfortunately we have only a few photographs and so it was a real jolt to see these pictures and remember little things I had long forgotten. It was like seeing someone else in my childhood memories, really weird but I loved looking at the photos and reading about the prefabs. I really enjoyed reading this book and thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about this unique way of living.
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