Over 156,000 temporary bungalows or “prefabs” (abbreviated from prefabricated buildings) were manufactured and erected across the UK between 1945 and 1948 to help with meeting the shortage of housing after the war.  Their fabrication and distribution was managed centrally by the Ministry of Works, which also owned the buildings, although sites and infrastructure were the responsibility of each local authority.  

By 1947, 35 prefabs had been built in Central Park on the area above Wake Street and Holdsworth Street, and another 3 on Central Park Avenue close to Holdsworth Street.  A new access road called Monroe Gardens was made off Alma Road for the larger group, and the buildings and road are shown on the 1949 map survey.   

1949 map survey

The Prefab Museum has kindly assisted in identifying the Central Park prefabs as being of the UK100 or the American type and providing information about them.  Plymouth had many like this which were imported in 1945 under the Lend-Lease programme before the UK was equipped to manufacture its own prefabs in sufficient numbers.  They were directed to areas which had been particularly badly bombed.

The American prefabs were distinctive in that they had a very large window and a double entrance ‘vestibule’ as this photograph of Wolseley Road prefabs shows.  The Central Park prefabs can be seen near the top of these photographs from the ‘Britain from Above’ aerofilms collection:



The prefabs were cleared in the early months of 1961 and the area returned to parkland. If you have memories or photographs of the prefabs in Central Park, please email info@focpp.org.uk

Grass and wildflowers grow today where Monroe Gardens stood c1947 to c1965 (Andrew Young)
Trees grow today where there were prefabs on Central Park Avenue after the war (Andrew Young)