Wartime Housing




Frank Neate

Ottershaw, Surrey

Thank you to Frank Neate who wrote:

Wartime Housing Shortage

"During the World War II, there was a serious shortage of houses in most cities and towns in the UK.  As a consequence, many families had to move in to very temporary rented accommodation in households where the husband was overseas on active service.

In our case, my mother moved in with her sister and her family into a one bed-roomed flat in 28 Bothwell Street.  My uncle was in Burma and my dad was in Java / Sumatra. (Both men were conscripted and were, I presume, apparently defending the UK from invasion by the Japanese!)"

Return of the Service Men

"Of course, when the war ended and the service men were demobbed and moved back with their family, there were no longer any rooms free in this type of accommodation. So, many families who could not afford move into or even find other rented rooms  were 'put out' on the street.

The problem would have been relieved if the Edinburgh town council had used some of the property requisitioned during the war for temporary accommodation, but they refused to take any action."

Edinburgh Homeless Association

"A pressure group was formed to force the council to take action, and it became the Edinburgh Homeless Association. We were known as the  'squatters'..  My mother became the secretary at its founding in 1945/6 and she kept all the correspondence including all letters, press cuttings and pictures.

Some of the letters from the wives of ex-Prisoners of War are quite harrowing.  While the flag-waving was going on in Princes St, many of the returning 'heroes' were suffering serious hardship, which of course was ignored by the popular press.,

The group took over some old army camps and big houses e.g. Duddingston Camp and Granton House, and set up rooms and beds, etc. for many families.

We eventually moved into a prefab in late 1947.

 I have copied all this info and it is available to whoever is interested in it.  Perhaps some of the visitors to the EdinPhoto site may know or even were the children of some of the the letter writers."

Frank Neate, Ottershaw*, Surrey, England:  August 18, 2011

* Frank tells me that's where the Martians first landed in War of the Worlds



More Pages



Prefab Housing