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In The News: 60 Years Later, "Temporary" Homes Occupied

In The News: 60 Years Later, "Temporary" Homes Occupied

During a housing shortage in England after World War II, planners turned to prefab to help with the rapidly expanding populace. The Excalibur estates in the town of Catford (located in the borough of Lewisham in greater London) were built to shelter new families temporarily and were only expected to last for 10 years. Now, 60 years later, those houses are still inhabited.

The 185 prefabricated houses are scheduled to be torn down by the Lewisham Council, which owns 80 percent of the houses. According to a spokesperson for the council who was interviewed for the BBC, "These buildings were originally constructed for a temporary life — 10 years or so — and have been standing for over 60 . . . The estate is one of the few areas where refurbishment is unaffordable and achieving modern standards of decent homes is only possible through replacing existing homes with a new build programme."

To see if there's hope for these homes,


Understandably, residents are very attached to their homes, and many people have lived in these homes for decades. There is some hope for those who love their prefab homes, as the Department for Culture, Media, and Sports may list them as historical houses, which would prevent their demolition. While I can understand the need to upgrade the homes, and the insurmountable expense in doing so, I can also see how the residents wouldn't want to leave, even when offered alternate housing. A house becomes a home, and it's hard to see that taken away.

What would you do if it were your home?


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that the question would be what kind of home would you get as an alternative and where would it be located. since you said that a lot of the families have been there forever - they've developed friends there - laid down roots and all that - and to pick up and move can be hard. it's just impressive to me that these houses have lasted as long as they have when they were initially built only to last for 10 years.
ktcrusher ktcrusher 8 years
I lived on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (south-western South Dakota) for a few years as a volunteer. There, 'temporary housing' is the norm--a tornado ripped through, FEMA set up housing that was supposed to be there a year, and 10 years later, it's still there. As one of the poorest counties in America, it's not surprising--but still depressing. I'm pretty sure they would move if they could afford to: cardboard windows in -25 degree nights is never fun.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
it's the 'old mentality', that's how it is for people in many places in europe. they can have something bigger, newer or better but it's not what they're about, they like what they always have had, they are highly resistant to change! any euros here i'm sure can relate (look at your grandparents!).
dreamie-me dreamie-me 8 years
Wow, this makes me wonder if the same will happen to some of the Katrina victims. Are there people still living in those temporary homes?
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