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Prefab Housing

Late-1940s / Early-1950s

Please scroll down this page, or click on one of these links:

A.  Prefab Housing  -  Background

B.  Prefab Housing  -  Exhibition

C.  Prefab Housing  -  Recollections

 

A.

Prefab Housing

Late-1940s / Early-1950s

Background

Recollections

Several other pages in the  'Recollections' section of the EdinPhoto web site include memories and  photos of prefab housing  in Edinburgh.

See:

Gilmerton  -  c.1950

   Prefab houses at Gilmerton around 1950 ©

Greendykes - 1957

Outside a Greendykes Pre-fab  -  Around 1957 ©

Greendykes - 1961

   Outside a Greendykes Pre-fab ©

Britain

In order to meet the housing shortage as World War II was coming to an end, Wilson Churchill announced a Temporary Housing Programme in 1944.

The program planned to build 500,000 prefab bungalows in Britain over the next four years.  They were expected to last for fifteen years.  In fact just over 150,000 were built, including about 4,000 in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh

Thank you to Neil Lawrence, Edinburgh for giving me the details of the Edinburgh prefabs below.  I don't know how many, if any, have survived.

There were four types of prefab in Edinburgh:

-  Aluminium     1792

Arcon                757

Seco                 815

Tarran              636

Area

Number Built

Brunstane

16

Coillesdene

69

Craigmillar 1

41

Craigmillar 2

48

Craigmillar 3 (Greendykes)

267

Crewe Road North

38

Drylaw Mains North (Pennywell)

200

Ferniehill

233

Gilmerton (Hyvots)

226

Longstone

135

Moredun

565

Muirhouse

193

Northfield

229

Oxgangs

123

Redhall

218

Saughton Mains

158

Sighthill (Calders)

537

Southfield (Bingham)

100

Southhouse

240

West Pilton

364

After the initial 4000 above were built, Edinburgh purchased an additional 166 Permanent Aluminium houses, 145 for Craigour and 21 for Muirhouse.

Edinburgh Today

A few of the 1940s prefab bungalows in Edinburgh have survived to today (January 2008).  They still appear to be in good condition.  Most have been modernised, but a few still retain many of their original features.

 In January 2008, I visited many of the areas in the table above.  I found and photographed several prefab bungalows in the Moredun (Craigour) area:

Craigour Avenue  -   prefab housing erected in the 1940s ©

Acknowledgements

(1)  Thank you to Neil Lawrence, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh for providing the details above.  Neil tells me:

The numbers of the individual types of prefabs were taken from Edinburgh Council Minutes.

The numbers built by each scheme have been worked out from various sources: City drainage records, old OS maps and more Edinburgh Council Minutes. There seems to be very little in the way of proper documented information on Prefabs in general. They were built under special war-time powers and didn’t require formal planning or building warrant permissions.

(2)   Thank you to Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse Edinburgh for telling me that there were still some prefab bungalows to be found around Moredun.

I found some at:

-  Craigour Avenue

-  Craigour Crescent

-  Craigour Drive

-  Craigour Grove

-  Moredun Park

-  Moredun Park Court

There may well be others that I have still to find.

Peter Stubbs:  Edinburgh

 

B.

Prefab Housing

Late-1940s / Early-1950s

Exhibition

Treasured Places

The exhibition, Treasured Places, was displayed at the City Art Centre from 25 October 2008 to 17 January 2009 to commemorate the centenary of RCAHMS (The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland).

The exhibition featured a wide variety of properties in Scotland, including an Edinburgh  prefab, No 55  -  possibly 55 Craigour Avenue. 

The exhibition explained that this was one of 32,000 prefabs erected in Scotland in the late 1940s.  It had been supplied by AIROH (Architectural Industries Research Organisation on housing).

Prefabs were detached and had large gardens.  They were usually popular with their owners.

Prefabs were constructed of aluminium because, following the end of World War II.  Prefabs were partly assembled (prefabricated) in factories before being delivered to the site.

In Scotland, 3,205 prefabs survived to 1971.  Here is one of several in the  Craigour and Moredun, Edinburgh that was still occupied and appeared to be in good condition in 2008:

Looking south up Craigour Avenue, including one of the prefab bungalows that has survived in the area ©

 

C.

Prefab Housing

Late-1940s / Early-1950s

Recollections

0.

Alan Bass
Craigour, Edinburgh

-  Craigour Avenue

1.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

with reply from

Neil Lawrence
Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

- Burdiehouse

- Greendykes

2.

Bryan Gourlay
Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

- Burdiehouse

- Delivery

- North Berwick and Biggar

3.

Douglas Beath
Tasmania, Australia

with reply from

Neil Lawrence
Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

- Good Old Prefabs

- Crewe Road and East Pilton

4.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

-  Swedish Design

5.

Liz Black
California, USA

Greendykes

Holyrood

6.

Betty Campbell
Northfield, Edinburgh

Craigour Drive

Countryside

7.

Liz Taylor (née LAMB)
Edinburgh

Craigour Road

-  Golf Balls

8.

Ron Ross
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Hyvot Terrace, Gilmerton

9.

Carl Gorman
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

-  Golf Course

10.

Lilian Young
USA

-  Calder Road

11.

Robert Black
Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

-  Calder Drive

12.

Monica Pudel
Ahrensburg, Hamburg, Germany

Northfield Prefabs

13.

Moira Clarke
Stokesley, North Yorkshire

-  Calder Drive

-  Fields

14.

Jim Browning
Brighton, Sussex, England

Moredun Park Rise

15.

Terry Dolan
Edinburgh

-  Found under the floor boards

16.

Rab Young
Drumbrae, Edinburgh

Calder Walk

17

Pamela Thompson
(née Jones)

Buderim, Queensland, Australia

-  Milton Drive
18

Patricia Mcdonald
(née Thomson)

-  Milton Grove, Portobello
19

Joann Arthur

-  Mountcastle Drive
20

Patricia Mcdonald
(née Thomson)

-  Milton Grove, Portobello

-  Tight Squeeze

-  Games

-  Good Old Days

21

Pamela Thompson
(
née Jones)

-  Milton Grove, Portobello

-  Tight Squeeze

22

Chris Smith
Turnhouse, Edinburgh

-  Calder Walk
23

Annette Kelly (née Bruce)

-  Northfield Drive
24

George Brodie
Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland

-  Northfield Grove
25

Robert Laird
Longstone, Edinburgh

-  Prefabs at Redhall

-  Slateford & Longstone Public Hall

-  Prefabs and Bus Stop

26

Andrew Morton

-  Craigour Avenue

27

Andrew Morton

-  Craigour Avenue

-  Craigour Loan

 

Recollections

0.

Alan Bass

Craigour, Edinburgh

Thank you to Alan Bass for contacting me when he recognised a picture of the prefab that he used to live in at Craigour.

Please click on the thumbnail image below to read Alan's comments:

Craigour Avenue

    Craigour Avenue  -  Housing including prefab houses erected in the 1940s ©

Acknowledgement:  Alan Bass, Craigour, Edinburgh:  August 2+6, 2009

 

Recollections

1.

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Referring to the comments above, Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse sent me the photo below.  Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

Bob wrote:

Burdiehouse

Burdiehouse Terrace  -  Prefab Housing ©

"Here's another type of prefab.  This photo shows the houses in their old and metamorphosed state.  These are BISF houses and were made in huge numbers all over the UK.

I have lived in one of these in Burdiehouse for the last 35 years.  The conversion has turned them into very snug and fuel efficient homes."

Neil Lawrence wrote:

BISF Houses

"I was reading your page on the prefabs with interest.  The BISF 2-storey houses that Bob Henderson refers to were in fact permanent houses.  BISF stands for British Iron & Steel Federation.

We have a good number of these houses at both Southhouse / Burdiehouse and at Moredun.

All of these apart from the one in your photograph have been overclad and re-roofed to give them an additional lifespan."

Fabrication

"These houses were not pre-fabricated that much.  They were erected pretty much as a steel frame with building element fitted much in the same way you would build a house on site, not like the Aluminium prefabs that were built in the Blackburn aircraft factory and delivered to the sight in two parts."

Neil Lawrence, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh:  July 26, 2008

 

Bob Henderson replied:

BISF Houses

"The BISF houses were in most of their component parts prefabricated.  Because the metal frames were made to a pretty exact spec, all of the timbers for the internal walls, ceilings etc. were able to be precut in the factory.

The top half of the building was sheathed in steel sheet and the bottom half in wire mesh which was then rendered and harled in the scotch manner.

All of the windows and window frames were made by Crittal Hope, also in the factory, and were in fact of the same construction as for the bungalows which we call prefabs.

There was no plaster work inside these houses, all of the walls and ceilings being lined with a low density fibre board. This board was later found to be a fire hazard.  I know of at least two houses which were gutted by fire here in the Burdiehouse area."

Renovation

"These houses have been renovated twice that I know of.

The first time was to rewire, remove the fibre board and replace it with plaster board, and to remove the asbestos roofing and replace it with a metal roof.

The second renovation involved the replacement of windows with new double glazed units and doors.  Then a skin of two- inch thick polystyrene, a breather barrier, a wire mesh cage and in my case the whole rendered and harled with a red and white chipping."

Survival

"However, most of the houses here had  the bottom half clad in a single skin of facing brick. These houses were not built to last any longer than any other prefab.

It says a lot that prefabs of all types are still standing in good order when the supposedly traditionally built houses of the 1960s to 1980s have been demolished and continue to be demolished here in Edinburgh."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  July 26, 2008

 

Greendykes

"I also lived for a short time in one of the other type, an asbestos one in Greendykes.  It was a great wee hoose.

Imagine going from a single-end with no hot water and an outside shared lav. to your own wee bungalow with hot and cold running water and a bath with, wonder of wonders, a gas- operated fridge built in to the fitted kitchen!"

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  January 4, 2007

 

Recollections

2.

Bryan Gourlay

Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

After reading the comments above, Brian Gourlay wrote:

Burdiehouse

"It’s been interesting reading Bob Henderson’s recollections and experiences of living in pre-fabs.  I never knew they made the two level version in Bob’s photo.

My grandmother moved to one in Burdiehouse Loan in 1947 and lived there for years, but I never realised it was a pre-fab. Her daughter has lived in Burdiehouse Avenue for 50 years, now in one of the upgraded ones in Bob’s photo."

Delivery

"In the late 1940s, I can remember seeing pre-fab houses being delivered, going down Dalkeith Road on the back of low-loader lorries, as I walked to school.  They were like small bungalows sliced in half with sinks, bathrooms and lots of other things already fitted.

North Berwick and Biggar

"Pre-fab houses were also to be found in North Berwick, up near the Law, where they were demolished around 1970.

 There is a nice prefab development still alive and kicking close to the high school and opposite the golf course in Biggar.

Bryan Gourlay, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland:  January 23, 2008

 

Recollections

3.

Douglas Beath

Tasmania, Australia

Douglas Beath added:

Good Old Prefabs!

"Good old prefabs!  History should accord them a round of applause.  The postwar radio comedy  'Stand Easy!' with Cheerful Charlie Chester's gang included a weekly current affairs skit as a chant accompanied by tomtoms.

 One was

'Down in the jungle,
Lliving in a tent:
Better than a prefab.
No rent !
'

 Crewe Road and East Pilton

"I remember the bungalows between Crewe Road North and Crewe Road West. 

Also, just south of there around Crewe Road Gardens and overlooking the partly-filled railway cutting to East Pilton, there were several Swedish-supplied two-storey prefabs, presumably the type Bryan Gourlay was unaware of because they were not immediately recognizable as prefabs."

Neil Lawrence replied:

"Douglas Beath mentioned the Swedish timber houses at Pilton.  There were 2 lots of 50 houses, gifted by the Swedish Government after the war.

50 were built at West Pilton Place and a further 50 at Sighthill Drive, Rise & Crescent.  All 100 houses are still standing and are lasting well for their age."

 Neil Lawrence, Fountainbridge, Edinburgh:  July 26, 2008

 

Douglas Beath, Tasmania, Australia:  January 25, 2007

 

Recollections

4.

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Bob Henderson added:

Swedish Design

"Douglas Beath mentioned the Swedish version of the prefab houses.  These were different again, being built entirely from wood.   They were years ahead of their time, as far as UK regulations were concerned.

I believe they only got past these regs. because of the war, and very few other timber houses were built for many years after them.

Nowadays, of course, we have taken account of the millions of timber houses in the States, Canada, Scandinavia etc. and come to recognise that they do not pose any more risk in case of fire than other types of construction.

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  July 13, 2008

 

Recollections

5.

Liz Black

California, USA

Thank you to Liz Black for adding her comments to the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Liz wrote:

Greendykes

"I was born in Edinburgh.  I lived on South Clark Street, then Greendykes Avenue in the prefabs.

Holyrood

My grandparents lived on Holyrood Road in a tenement held up with wood supports, across from a teachers' college.

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  July 8, 2008

 

Recollections

6.

Betty Campbell

Northfield, Edinburgh

Craigour Drive

Here is a view looking to the NW down Craigour Drive, with just one prefab remaining in this photo.  It's the low bungalow, No 70, Craigour Drive.

Looking to the NW down Craigour drive, with prefab bungalows built in the 1940s ©

When these houses were erected in the mid-1940s, they had an expected lifetime of about fifteen years, but a few were still standing, and looking good, in the Craigour district of Edinburgh, close to the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary when I photographed them in January 2008.

Peter Stubbs:   July 23, 2008

Betty Campbell lived with her family for nearly five years at Duddingston Camp in the 1940s

Lochinvar Camp   -   1957 ©

before moving to a prefab at Craigour.

Betty wrote:

Countryside

"We lived in 76 Craigour Drive.  I loved it there as it was still countryside at that time.  There was a farm behind us where the cows came right up to the fence at the back of our home.

The farmer had a pony named 'Trigger' who all us kids loved.  When he saw us around, he would come to us for treats etc."

Betty Campbell, Northfield, Edinburgh:  July 23, 2008

 

Recollections

7.

Liz Taylor (née Lamb)

Edinburgh

Thank you to Liz Taylor (née Lamb) who wrote:

Craigour Road

"I used to live in a prefab in Craigour Road.  Ours was at the end, overlooking Liberton Golf Course (the fourth tee?).  As the ground dipped down towards the burn there, our prefab was built up on bricks to make it level with the others in the row! We had about 15 steps up to both doors!"

Golf Balls

"We also used to get loads of golf balls in our garden.  According to my sisters, I used to hunt them, collect them in an old paint tin and give them to the Greenkeeper (Mr Gemmell) and he used to give me half a crown for a full tin!"

Liz Taylor (née Lamb), Edinburgh:  July 31, 2008

 

Recollections

8.

Ron Ross

Edinburgh

Thank you to Ron Ross for sending this photograph of the prefab house at Hyvot Terrace where he lived with his family from 1949 until 1958.

Ron wrote

"I lived in a prefab at 4 Hyvot Terrace from 1949 until 1958.  This photo of the house was taken in 1961, about a year before the prefabs were all demolished."

4 Hyvot Terrace

    Prefab at 4 Hyvot Terrace, Gilmerton  -  photo taken 1961 ©

Ron Ross, Brompton, Ontario, Canada:  February 3, 2009

Please click on the thumbnail image above to enlarge the photo and read more about it.

 

Recollections

9.

Carl Gorman

Port Elizabeth  South Africa

Thank you to Carl Gormon who read Liz Taylor's comments about the golf course  (7 above) and replied.

Carl wrote

"The Late Mr Gemmell referred to in section 7 above is my late Grandfather.  My Mom, Isobel (Gemmell) grew up on the golf course.

Carl Gormon, Port Elizabeth, South Africa:  May 14, 2009

Please click on the thumbnail image above to enlarge the photo and read more about it.

 Recollections

10.

Lilian Young

Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Lilian Young who wrote:

Calder Road

"I was born in Edinburgh, and lived in a flat in Jamaica Street, then moved to Viewforth Square, Saughton Loan, Calder Road and Whitson Walk before coming to the US.

My Mom, brother and I were amongst the first people to live in prefabs on Calder Road.   We lived at No 547.  Mom loved the many built-in closets, cabinets and drawers and swore it must have been designed by a female since males would never have thought of this feature."

Demolition

"It's a shame that the prefabs were pulled down.  I went to Calder Road when I came home in 2006, but couldn't locate where this house had stood.

Of course, I was saddened to see the number of beautiful old, historical buildings which had been replaced by the awful steel and glass monstrosities.   We see enough of this type of building here, and I just wish the historical buildings I recalled from my youth had still been standing."

Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA:  August 13, 2009

Old Buildings

Despite their planned lifetime of fifteen years, some of Edinburgh's prefabs in the Moredun district are still occupied and looking good, sixty years after they were built.

Yes, some historic buildings have been lost in Edinburgh, particularly around the 1960s, but I believe that people are now more aware of the value of such buildings.

Peter Stubbs:  August 20, 2009

 

 Recollections

11.

Robert Black

Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Robert Black for leaving a message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Robert wrote:

Calder Drive

"I was brought up in the prefab at 67 Calder DriveI attended Wester Hailes and then Murrayburn schools.

I left Calder Drive in 1966 when I was 18 and moved with my parents (Mary & Tommy) to Longstone Street where new houses had replaced the prefabs which had been there.

I look back on my time in the prefabs with great affection. Does anyone remember me?"

Robert Black: Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  August 24, 2009

Contacting Robert Black

Unfortunately, I don't have an email address for Robert, so I'm not able to pass on messages to him.  However, if you email me with any messages for him, I'll add your messages to the recollections pages on the EdinPhoto web site and hope that he reads them there.

Peter Stubbs:  August 24, 2009

 

 Recollections

12.

Monica Purdel (née Mahon)

Ahrensburg, Hamburg, Germany

Thank you to Monica Pudel (née Mahon) who wrote:

Northfield Prefabs

"I have not seen anything yet on the EdinPhoto web site about the prefab houses at Northfield.  I lived there from 1947 until about 1963.  I'd love to hear from anybody else who lived there."  **

Monica Pudel (née Mahon), Ahrensburg, Hamburg, Germany:  January 15, 2009

**  Reply to Monica

If you'd like to send a reply to Monica, please email me, then I'll pass your message on to her.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  March 20, 2010

 Recollections

13.

Moira Clarke

Stokesley, North Yorkshire, England

Thank you to Moira Clark who replied to Robert Black's message in Recollections 11 above.

Moira wrote:

Calder Drive

"I lived at 110 Calder Drive until 1963. We lived next to a man called Willie Ralph who worked on the railways and had one arm!  As children, my brother and I would watch him roll his cigarettes one-handedly in awe and amazement."

Moira asked Robert

Fields

"Do you remember the lovely fields at the back of the prefabs, and the burn?  We we were not allowed to play there ... but did anyway !!"

Moira Clarke, Stokesley, North Yorkshire, England:  September 16, 2010

Contacting Robert Black

If you'd like to contact Robert, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.    Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  August 24, 2009

 

 Recollections

14.

Jim Browning

Brighton, Sussex, England

Thank you to Jim Browning who wrote:

Moredun Park Rise

"As a wee lad, I lived in a prefab at Moredun Park Rise from 1957 until 1961.   I remember the houses being warm.

I to go to the burn at the bottom of road and dam it, before being chased off.   I visited recently and tried to trace the walk down the burn but lost it in the hospital site.

I have fond memories of the school at Moredun Vale."

Jim Browning, Brighton, Sussex, England:  December 13, 2010

 

 Recollections

15.

Terry Dolan

Edinburgh

Thank you to Terry Dolan who wrote:

Hyvot's Avenue

"We lived in a prefab at 27 Hyvots Avenue from 1948 to 1954.
We used to play in the quarry at the back of Hyvots Terrace.

Our Auntie May and Uncle Paddy and their  family lived further down the road.

Our next door neighbours were the Reids and the Inksters."

Terry Dolan, Edinburgh:  November 13, 2011

 

 Recollections

16.

Rab Young

Drumbrae, Edinburgh

Thank you to Rab Young who wrote:

Calder Walk

"It was good to read the recollections above of the Calder Prefabs.  Our family lived at 26 Calder Walk from the early-1950s until the prefab was demolished around 1965."

The Weather

"I have fantastic memories of the back fields, the burn and the canal. It’s a pity I’ve no pictures of the estate.

Halcyon days indeed, always sunny  -  but I do remember the inch thick coating of ice on the inside of my bedroom window some winters (especially 1963…brrr..) and being lulled to sleep at night by the sound of rain pattering on the roof."

Rab Young, Drumbrae, Edinburgh:  April 27, 2012

 

 Recollections

17.

Pamela Thompson (née Jones)

Buderim, Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Pamela Thompson for posting a message in the EdinPhoto Guestbook.

Pamela wrote:

Milton Drive

"I lived in Milton Drive in a prefab from about 1947.  I remember everything was built-in and cupboards and drawers were metal. Boy, did they squeak!

In the early fifties we moved to Brunstane Road where we lived until we came to Australia in 1961"

Pamela Thompson (née Jones), Buderim, Queensland, Australia:
Message posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook:  March 10, 2011

 

 Recollections

18.

Patricia Mcdonald (née Thomson)

Thank you to Patricia Mcdonald (née Thomson) for posting a reply to the message 77 above that Pamela Thompson posted in the EdinPhoto Guestbook.

Pamela wrote:

Milton Grove
Portobello

"I was born in a prefab at No.14 Milton Grove, Portobello in 1948 and lived there until 1958 when my Mum was pregnant with her 10th baby, so we had to move to a bigger house.

She had a choice of two houses,  one at Niddrie, the other at Bingham.  She chose the latter as it was slightly better

I have many fond memories from the two areas where I stayed"

Patricia Mcdonald (née Thomson):  Reply posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook on Mar 13, 2013 in response to Message 17 above posted by Pamela Thompson Buderim, Queensland, Australia on  Mar 10, 2013.

Patricia:

Thanks for your reply.

I'm amazed that such a large family was able to live in the prefab for so long!

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  March 13, 2013

 

 Recollections

19.

Joann Arthur

Edinburgh

Thank you to Joann Arthur who wrote:

Mountcastle Drive
Portobello

"My Auntie Peggy used to live in the prefabs at Mountcastle Drive and hers was right next to the Figgate Park.  The local kids called it the Figgy Park.  This was a dead end before they built the road right over to Mountcastle Drive South.

I have fond memories of summer holidays at her prefab in the late-1950s and earl-1960s, where all the local kids played out in the street at rounder’s and also fishing for tiddlers with old stockings and wire on the end of a bamboo stick, down at the Figgate Burn.

We also walked up to the store van (St. Cuthbert’s) which used to park daily further up Mountcastle Drive to buy a sweetie. A whole crowd of us would also walk down to Portobello either to the pool or the beach.

On a Saturday, we'd walk to Brighton Park, where there was some kind of kids' show.  It all changed when they knocked down the prefabs.  Many of the residents moved up to Northfield, but it never seemed the same."

Joann Arthur, Edinburgh:  August 24, 2012

 

 Recollections

20.

Patricia Mcdonald (née Thomson)

Patricia posted another message in the EdinPhoto guestbook, following up the comments in 'Recollections' 18 above.

Patricia wrote:

Milton Grove
Portobello

Tight Squeeze

"Yes Peter: it was a tight squeeze but ,hey, they were good days!  I suppose it could have been worse.  We could have stayed in a 'single-end'.  I have so many good memories of living in Milton Grove.

Games

"Chap Door Run was a great game then.  We tied two door handles of opposite houses together, knocking on the doors and hiding in the bushes, watching the people trying to open their doors, was great funomg, if my boys had done that when they were young, they would have been grounded for life.

Rounders was another great game

All the girls loved to play Skipping Ropes.   You would start with two or three girls and before long you would have a load of girls joining in.  Even some mothers would come out and join in."

Good Old Days

"Oh, they were the good old days.  Nowadays, you never see children out playing, let alone the mums.  I've made contact with a couple of people from my childhood ,through the EdinPhoto site.   Thank you."

Tricia Mcdonald (née Thomson):  Reply posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook on March 15, 2013
in response to the message posted by Pamela Thompson née Jones on March 10, 2013

 Recollections

21.

Pamela Thompson (née Jones)

Thank you to Pamela Thompson (née Jones) for posting another reply in the in the EdinPhoto guestbook on 2 April 2013 in response to the original message about prefab housing that she posted in the guestbook on 10 March 2013.

Pamela wrote:

Milton Grove

Tight Squeeze

"It's nice to see the response from Patricia who lived in Milton Grove.  I can't imagine how ten children fitted in a tiny prefab.

There were only two bedrooms, as I recall.  I shared with my two much younger sisters and that was pretty cramped.  I am enjoying this website immensely"

Pamela Thompson (née Jones):  Reply posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, 2 April 2013, 2013 in response to the original message about prefab housing posted by Pamela in the guestbook on 10 March 2013.

 Recollections

22.

Chris Smith

Turnhouse, Edinburgh

Chris Smith wrote:

Tight Squeeze

"It's nice to see the response from Patricia who lived in Milton Grove.  I can't imagine how ten children fitted in a tiny prefab.

There were only two bedrooms, as I recall.  I shared with my two much younger sisters and that was pretty cramped.  I am enjoying this website immensely."

Chris Smith, Turnhouse, Edinburgh:  March 17, 2013

To read a reply to the question that Chris asked, please click on this thumbnail image of a map showing the lay-out of the roads at Calder in 1955:

 Edinburgh and Leith map, 1955  -  Sighthill + Calder section ©

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 7, 2013

 Recollections

23.

Annette Kelly (née Bruce)

Annette Kelly wrote:

Northfield Drive

"I was born in 1950 and have many happy memories of the prefabs.

I lived at 39 Northfield Drive until I was 8 years old.  What a great childhood!  Yes, we played in the burn as well, falling in more than once.

We had to move as I had an older brother and sister."

Annette Kelly (née Bruce)

 Recollections

24.

George Brodie

Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to George Brodie who wrote:

Northfield Grove

"We stayed in a prefab at No 3 Northfield Grove until the greed of the gold, under the name of re-development totally destroyed this lovely area

My two daughters, Linda and Lesley, couldn't wait to get home from school and vanish into the Figgate Park for hours with our wee dog.

I remember:

-  the shops, Grant's. Taylor's and  Forsyth's

the boxer, Kenny Buchanan and many more

Happy days!

The development where we once lived is now a total eyesore  George Brodie (bus driver)"

George Brodie, Bonyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland (bus driver):  January 1, 2013

 Recollections

25.

Robert Laird

Longstone, Edinburgh

Thank you to Robert Laird who wrote:

Redhall

"I was browsing the EdinPhoto site just now, and noticed an entry numbering the Pre-fabs built in Longstone after the war.

Robert is presumably referring to the table above.  It mentions 135 prefab houses built at Longstone  -  Peter Stubbs:  August 25, 2014

The bulk of them were actually Redhall addresses, but there were a few built on Longstone Street."

Slateford & Longstone Public Hall

"In the photo below, there are two children,me and a little girl. The photo was taken in front of the Slateford & Longstone Public Hall, at a relatives Engagement Party which was held there circa 1954.

The Hall is now in possession of the Freemasons, something that puzzled my dad, because according to him the Hall was donated to the people of Slateford & Longstone."

Two Children beside Longstone Road + Prefabs in Redhall Crescent in the background

© Robert Laird, Longstone, Edinburgh

Prefabs ad Bus Stop

"Behind me is the last bus stop on Longstone Road, before it becomes Inglis Green Road.  Over the road are some of the prefabs on Redhall Crescent.  They were demolished and 'Army Houses' replaced them for a short time.

I also noticed that the bus stop sign said 'Motor Buses Stop Here', which intrigued me."

That bus stop was presumably form the era when motor buses were being introduced in many areas of Edinburgh to replace the trams.

-  Peter Stubbs:  August 25, 2014

Robert Laird, Longstone, Edinburgh:  August 23, 2014

 Recollections

26.

Andrew Morton

Thank you to Andrew Morton who wrote:

5 Craigour Avenue

"I thought you might be interested in these photosMy family were the first occupants of 5 Craigour Avenue.

John + Joan Martinat their prefab at 5 Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken in 1950 ©            Prefabs and open fields at Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken in 1950 ©

John + Joan Martin at their prefab, 5 Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken 1950 ©            John Martin in the garden of his prefab at 5 Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken 1950 ©            John + Joan Martin in the garden of their prefab at 5 Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken 1950 ©

Bathtime:  Lena + John at tther prefab, 5 Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken 1950 ©

Group including John Martin and 11 other children at 5 Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken around 1953 ©            Coronation Party at the prefabs, Craigour Avenue  -  Photo taken 1953 ©

My parents were Jack and Joan Morton.  Our neighbour across the Street, was Ronnie Allan.  I believe that he is still living there."

Andrew Morton:  September 9, 2014 

Thank you Andrew.

Hi Andrew.  I certainly am interested in those photos.  Thank you.   Can you tell me anything about what life was like, living in the prefab?

This seems to be the one district of Edinburgh that has retained quite a lot of the old prefabs.  They are now about 65 years old, and most appear to be in very good condition.

When the prefabs were put up, they had an expected life of 15 years!

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  September 11, 2014

Update

Thank you to Andrew Morton for responding to my first paragraph above and  sending more recollections of living at Craigour.  See Andrew's 'Recollections 27' below.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  September 13, 2014

 

 Recollections

27.

Andrew Morton

Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Andrew Morton added:

5 Craigour Avenue

Born in 1951

"I was born on Friday, 28 September, 1951 in the back bedroom of 5 Craigour Avenue, Edinburgh. It was around the middle of the day for my mother recalls hearing the children coming up the road from school for their lunch at the time that I was born.

My parents were Jack and Joan Morton who, with my elder brother John, had moved into the house the year before. The world I came into was a post-war one.

My First Memory

"My first memory is of sitting on a rocking horse in the living room, eating an orange which my mother had peeled for me.  When I finished the orange, I ate the peel, not something I’d care to do now!2

Prefab Houses

"Our house was a single storey prefab, one of hundreds which had sprung up almost overnight on what was then open countryside on the southern edge of Edinburgh to accommodate the many newly married ex-servicemen and their families.

The homes were  pre-fabricated in the Blackburn aircraft factory (hence their name).  As and an old Edinburgher recalls:

'In the late 1940s, I can remember seeing pre-fab houses being delivered, going down Dalkeith Road on the back of low-loader lorries, as I walked to school. They were like small bungalows sliced in half with sinks, bathrooms and lots of other things already fitted.' ”

Inside the Houses

"Viewed through modern eyes, accustomed to variety and choice, it was a very peculiar place.  Every house was exactly the same; when you entered, there was a narrow hallway with two bedrooms on the left and the bathroom ahead. On the right was a door into the living room where everyone would have had a dining table, for meals were taken in the living room.

Heating was by a coal fire with a back boiler to heat the water.  A door at the far end of the living room led to the kitchen which, wonder of wonders, held a gas powered fridge!"

Gardens

"Every house had a good sized front and back garden with a shed for storage. All of our fathers had to dig the debris of building work out of the gardens before lawns could be laid and vegetable gardens dug.

Our fathers all wore a bits and pieces of old service dress to work in and in one family photo my father can be seen in his old army trousers with a pick axe digging out assorted bits of rubble."

Neighbours

"There was a broad mix of social classes, my father was the Buyer at MacKenzie and Moncur, the heating engineers whilst next door was the local chemist, Mr McPherson who was able to maintain a car which he kept in a lock up garage down the road.

Across the street was Ronnie Allan who drove long distance buses to and from London for SMT.  Very few people could afford cars so the streets were safe to play in. That's just as  well, because almost every house soon held several children with so many of the occupants being newlyweds.

Other kids in the street that I can recall are:

-  Eleanor Bathgate (at No 2)

-  Ronnie Allan (at No 6)

-  Michael Spence (at No 7)

-  George and Jennifer Hughes (at No 8)

-  Pauline Minor

-  Jennifer Roy

-  Brian Bass

-  Isobel McPherson."

Playing

"I recall playing with other children in the back garden in the sunshine and hiding among the blackcurrant bushes when we played hide and seek.

In the winter, if there was snow, someone would get hold of a long, wooden bread delivery tray which we would sledge down from the top of the road to the bottom with several of us on board.

One day, when I was 3 or 4, some kids came past the garden and suggested that I came with them to play in their garden. Their house was near the west end of Moredun Park Road, so I drove my pedal car round there with them.

After a while I announced that I should get home and pedalled away. However, I took a wrong turning and ended up in Moredun Park Street where I asked the way from a man cutting a hedge. When I got home it turned out my mother had been cruising the area in a police car looking for me! I couldn't understand what all the fuss had been about."

Craigour Loan

Moving House

"We moved round the corner from 5 Craigour Avenue to one of the larger houses in Craigour Loan in 1956 when I was nearly five years old.

We moved all our furniture on the local coal man's lorry.  My brother and I stood on the back.  There was no 'Health and Safety' then!"

Andrew Morton, Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland:  September 13, 2014 

 Recollections

28.

Lilian Young

Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Lilian Young for writing again:

Lilian wrote:

Calder Road

Our Home

"I loved the photos of the prefabs above.  We were one of the first families to move into the prefabs at Sighthill on Calder Road.  We lived on the main road.  All our prefabs had asbestos material on the outside.  Those in the row behind us were aluminum like those shown in your photos."

Bedrooms

"My Mom always maintained that the interiors of the homes must have been designed by a female, as we had so many built- in cupboards and drawers, so it was easy to furnish the bedrooms with only beds and a dresser next to the bed.  The wardrobes and cupboards were already there."

Kitchen

"The kitchen was large and had a fold-down table which could be put away to give more workroom.  We had one of the first refrigerators which most folks didn't know how to use.  My Mom made lots of iced lollies for us.

There was also a built-in boiler for doing the laundry and, we had two bathrooms - one a small toilet and sink at the front door and the second a full bathroom with an airing cupboard which allowed us to get warm towels when we came out of the bath."

Kitchen

"Outside, we had a nissen hut, similar to the old Anderson shelters that we had during the war.  In it, we kept coal and gardening tools.

Each yard was fenced-in, so that children could play in the back yard without fear of being run over by vehicles - the few that did pass by - and our back gardens were also a wonderful place to grow fruit trees to make the lovely home made jams."

Return Visit to Edinburgh

"I attempted to find a prefab when I was home on a visit to Edinburgh, but did not find any.  If I ever get to make another trip there, I'll know where to go to, to get a look at what my childhood home was like."

Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA:  September 13, 2014

 

Recollections

More Pages

Contributors

 

Prefab Housing

Craigour

Gilmerton

Moredun

 

 

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