Social Essays

The People Of The Excalibur Estate, 1946 to 2008

At the end of World War 2 London’s housing stock was low, after the capital had been bombed by the Germans. The UK Governments answer to this was prefabricated low cost houses. 150,000 prefabricated houses (prefabs) were built across Britain. They were named available to homeless families with young children.

Prefab estates sprang up all over the UK, they were dubbed “palaces for the people” as they were synonymous not only to comfort and luxury but also to freedom.

The prefabs were low cost and they only took a short amount of time to erect. They were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But they were only meant to have been a short term measure till a more permanent solution was found. The prefabs were expected to last between 10 and 15 years.

The Excalibur Estate in Catford south east London was one of the new estates, the 187 prefabs on this estate were erected between 1946 and 1947, by German and Italian prisoners of war. The Excalibur is still standing today, but for how much longer?