Elisabeth Blanchet: Prefabs – Palaces for the people – Free Exhibition
We are so excited to see this wonderful exhibition featuring touching & personal photography from Elisabeth Blanchet. She has spent over 11 years building an archive of post-war prefabricated homes and communities in the UK.
Prefabs – Palaces for the people | Photofusion, 17A Electric Lane, Brixton | Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm, Thursday 11am – 7pm | Free admission
Prefabs – Palaces for the people is a multimedia exhibition that includes photographs, interviews, short films, stories, an ipad interactive platform and prefab memorabilia.
Designed for homeless families with young children, these “palaces for the people” (as they were called at the time) were synonymous not only with comfort and luxury but also with freedom from the cramped and unsanitary urban housing of pre-war Britain.
Prefab residents have been struggling for years to save their bungalows from premature demolition. And those who have moved on from living in prefabs maintain fond memories. Neil Kinnock, former Labour leader who grew up in a prefab in South Wales, told Blanchet:
“It was a remarkable dwelling and a piece of wonderful engineering. In order to move in, my parents had to buy new furniture and a lasting impression was cleanliness and newness. And in a sense the prefabs have never lost that feeling. With our inside bathroom and our inside toilet, and our fitted kitchen with our refrigerator, this was 1948, a fitted electric stove, fold-down table, it was a place of wonder. We used to get visitors from all over the place just to come see this amazing house.“
Also don’t miss a fabulous free Catford Prefab Estate Tour on 20th July with Elizabeth where she will hopefully introduce you to some of the locals she met throughout her project. To book a place email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 20 7738 5774.
Ted Carter in one of the 2 bedrooms of his prefab on the Excalibur Estate. Ted repairs old radios, July 2012
A prefab at night on the Excalibur Estate, during the Christmas holiday, December 2010
Jim Blackender in front of his prefab at the Excalibur Estate, Catford, July 2009. With other residents, Jim fought to save the prefabs from demolition but he lost the battle and moved to Kent in 2012.
Jack inside his Redditch prefab. The prefabs’ residents were fighting to save their prefabs and managed to win, 2002
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.