How did bombed out English civilians manage to rebuild their homes

Discussion in 'WWII (1939 - 1945)' started by Doug, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Doug

    Doug Administrator. The Main Man. Staff Member

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    I was doing some research and came across relatives who were killed in the Sheffield bombing raids.

    This raised the thought as to how did survivors of the WWII bombing raids manage to rebuild after hostilities had ended.

    Obviously many would not have the financial wherewith-all to rebuild solely using their own finances.

    In this instance, Google did not prove to be my friend. :)
     
  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    In St Albans, where I grew up, I can remember that there were a lot of pre-fab homes - my friend's grandfather lived in one. He had been bombed out. In the 1960s/70s these were pulled down and people were re-homed by the Council.

    There was a bit of a housing boom for council accommodation in the 1950s, so I wonder if that was how people were housed. Not sure about private ownership....
     
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  3. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Oh yes - meant to add... check out "New Towns" such as Milton Keynes, Stevenage, Letchworth and Welwyn garden City - all built/expanded after WW2 to help house bombed-out Londoners.

    Edited to add:
    The 1944 Abercrombie Plan for London proposed eight new towns within 50 miles (80 km) of London for up to 500,000 people from inner London. Similar recommendations were made for other major conurbations including Manchester and Birmingham. The 1945 Attlee Government set up a New Towns Commission to formally consider how best to repair and rebuild urban communities ravaged in World War II.

    (Source: Wikipedia)
     
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  4. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    This might help
    Code:
    https://fet.uwe.ac.uk/conweb/house_ages/council_housing/print.htm
    There was a whole 'estate' of pre-fabs near to where I grew up in Ilford, Essex. They were really well thought out, and, although they were only supposed to bridge the gap before rebuilding, they were lived in for many years past their sell-by date.
     
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  5. MollyMay

    MollyMay Knows where to find the answers!

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    My parents story.

    Mum, dad and my brother lived in a rented house in Stepney, with my grandparents and single aunt. The house got bombed, they were in a shelter, at the time. They returned to the ruins to gather what they could of their possessions. They were 'sent' to Richmond (Surrey), I gather that there was some sort of agency who directed the homeless to new places to stay. The bombs then fell on Richmond, and the residents blamed the influx of East Enders for bring the bombs with them!
    Mum's brother with his wife and son and 3 of her sisters had found a house to rent in the leafy suburbs of Middlesex, having been bombed out of Hackney, so mum and the other 5 in Richmond moved in with her brother.
    Soon after a house became available for rent a few doors away, which mum and dad took (hiding from the landlord that my dad had his 'calling up' papers). They moved in, rented until 1953 when they bought the house, and lived the rest of their lives there.
    My aunt married a serviceman billeted in a house opposite and at the end of the war my grandparents moved back into rented rooms in Stepney, where they ended their days.
     
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  6. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Have a butchers at this lovely article.

    Code:
    https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/excalibur-estate-prefab-homes
     
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  7. Doug

    Doug Administrator. The Main Man. Staff Member

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    Thanks all.

    The above seems to cover council supplied housing pretty well.

    Still curious about those who owned their own home and land and needed to rebuild.

    Or were they moved off to council provided housing with their land resuming back to public ownership?
     
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  8. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Aha! Apparently, there was a War Damage Commission set up under the War Damage Act 1941 to pay compensation for war damage to land and buildings throughout the UK. It was not responsible for the repairs themselves, which were carried out by local authorities or private contractors.

    There are some records held by the National Archives. See here. :)
     
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  9. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Beat me to it!
     
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  10. Doug

    Doug Administrator. The Main Man. Staff Member

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    Excellent - thanks Jan.
     
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  11. Flook

    Flook A True Gentleman

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    It's difficult to find anything on the web but I have come across this rather interesting piece relating to the rebuilding in a south London suburb rather than an inner-city area. Each area that was bombed (in London or elsewhere) was different of course but this gives an idea of how some of the problems were tackled

    Code:
    http://www.rpwbresidents.org.uk/area/local-history/35-rebuilding-raynes-park
     
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  12. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I think we also have to remember that not so many people owned their own property then, so there were many more who were reliant on councils to re-house them. I don't think any of my relatives who lived through the war actually owned the house they lived in - they were all rented. This would, I imagine, apply to all the major towns and cities. The people who would have owned their own property and land would probably have lived in country areas that didn't suffer so much from bombing.
     
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  13. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Completely agree Ann, none of my relatives owned property. I think my father was the first on both sides. Mike always says that Brits became obsessed with owning after the war, no idea why, but that if you look at countries like France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany the norm is renting. He says that's because if you keep getting attacked and raided by your neighbours the desire to own is somewhat diminished!
     
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  14. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    My maternal G'Father who married in 1891 bought his first home in Croydon in 1906 where he & his wife & family lived until his death in 1954. I was told by my sister who visited in later years that they had bomb damage to the roof but no one was hurt there. True or not they were happy there after years of working in a leather tannery it must have been a little paradise. The house still stands although somewhat refurbished.
     
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  15. Libby

    Libby Well-Known Member

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    My grandparents rented their homes, but some of their brothers and sisters did own their own houses. Nothing grand, but within the town boundaries and some near the Spitfire factory were bombed out. Unfortunately I don't know if they bought or rented the properties they moved to after the bombing. Sadly none of my parents' generation left to ask about this.
     
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  16. Lusmum

    Lusmum Active Member

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    My husband was on Mine Sweepers in the War, his demob papers state that he had to get into the building trade or he could be recalled. I would guess all able bodied Troops had the same condition.
     
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