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Jarvis Square, prefabricated housing

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Jarvis Square, prefabricated housing
September 2006. These prefabricated single storey homes in Jarvis Square are a few of the 69 that were erected at the end of the Second World War on the Robin Hood Estate. They were designed with a lifespan of 10 years to help cope with the housing crisis after the war. Prefabricated factory made homes had decent facilities such as indoor toilets/bathrooms and almost always a garden. Young married people were often given priority and moved into the new estates. They shared many interests and experiences, so a strong sense of community grew up. As they went on to have families, children had playmates of similar ages. 60 years later the prefabs seen here were still providing comfortable homes, but the Government found that refurbishment would not be cost effective. It was decided to replace them with new homes of a higher standard in line with the new Decent Homes Standard to be implemented by 2010. This met with some opposition from residents who were very attached to their homes and had spent money on modernising them over the years. The summer of this year, 2006, saw the last of the residents leave and the final prefab demolished.

User Comments:

Graham A. Schofield

I remember that when it was announced that the COTTINGLEY ESTATE (between Beeston and Churwell) was to be demolished, it appeared that the majority of the residents there did not want to move. (No doubt the same scenario would have been played out at Jarvis Square.) But true to form, as is normal in our so called democracy, the voice of the majority was totally ignored and the council 'steam-rollered' ahead. Not only were all the homes destroyed, but a whole community was decimated. Many reasons were given, for "The Re-development" along the lines of:- The cost of repairs, maintenance, and re-furbishment. - They had outlived their estimated ten-year lifespan. - They weren't fit for purpose. - They were out of date. I can imagine the the list of excuses would have been quite long. But when you stand back and look at this from another angle, and learn that 20 or less pre-fabs. would sit comfortably on one acre of land, as opposed to 35 or more, modern styled dwellings, the whole scenario takes on a much different, and a more murky hue. It may be worth noting that a recent E.U. Survey has shown that when it come to the living space 'provided' by our housing industry, this country sits at the very bottom of the list. On average people in Mainland Europe have far more living space than we do. It seems that the "Cram 'em in and stack 'em high mind-set" is firmly established within the corridors of power. Whatever happened to "Quality of Life"? However, all is not doom and gloom. There are survivors in various parts of the country. The following are only a few:- The Excalibur Estate in London. There, English Heritage was trying to get Grade 2 Listing for the whole estate. The results of this are unknown to me. Perhaps someone has information. If you search The Birmingham History Forum web-site, you will find comments about pre-fabs. which have not only survived, but have also been re-clad with stone, or rendered to give the impression of a brick-finish. No doubt their interiors will have also been up-graded. It is worth noting that a pre-fab. provided both space and privacy, sitting as it did within the boundaries of its own land. Of course, that concept went out of the window when such bungalows were demolished. It seems that the gap between people and profit, was widening then, as it still is today.




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