Posted on 12/27/2005

Photo taken on March  1, 2004

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1950s Prefab House's Bathroom in the Museum of Welsh Life, 2004

1950s Prefab House's Bathroom in the Museum of Welsh Life, 2004
This photo was taken in the Museum of Welsh Life. If you require information regarding copyright, please contact the repository/contributor named above.

This image shows the interior of the B2 type aluminium prefabricated bungalow at the Museum of Welsh Life. The prefabs were designed and developed as a means of providing housing after the Second World War and they were a triumph in space planning. Each bungalow contained two bedrooms with built-in wardrobes, a living room, entrance hallway, fitted kitchen and bathroom. Four different versions were produced, all using more or less the same layout, but made of different materials. The aluminium bungalows like the one at the Museum were made in factories which once produced aircraft. They came off the production line at the rate of one every twelve minutes. The type B2 bungalow was made up of four sections which were pre-assembled complete with all electrical wiring, plumbing, and water and gas pipework. The prefab at the Museum originally came from Gabalfa in Cardiff and was built between 1947-8.

The house is furnished as it would have appeared in 1950 and includes some pieces of Utility furniture. This was a basic range of furniture made mainly of plywood and produced in Britain during and after the Second World War due to the scarcity of timber. Furniture was needed for those who had been bombed out and young couples who were setting up homes for the first time. Those who were eligible would be given coupons or 'units' and could order the furniture through a standard catalogue. This was also the age of 'making do' with what you had and some pieces of furniture would have been hand-me-downs or bought second hand.

The prefab was in many ways 'a housewife's paradise', with ample storage and innovative features and fittings. It boasted a fitted kitchen which had hot and cold running water, a cooker (gas or electric), a 'copper' for washing, as well as a built-in refrigerator. The other luxury was the fitted bathroom with its heated towel rail - usually the warmest part of the house! Little wonder that the B2 prefabs were affectionately known as 'tin palaces'.

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