Prefab Living

Nellie Rigby married Rob an ex-RAF serviceman in 1946. Later that year they were awarded a prefab in Belle Vale, after having lived in the Wavertree area of Liverpool with Rob’s sister and family for a couple of months. Nellie recalls what the prefab was like and how they made it feel like home when they moved in.

length of audio clip 3 mins 23 secs.

Nellie: And in the May we got a letter to say we’ve been awarded a prefab. And we was so thrilled, oh went there and give it a good clean out and oh so excited and erm that was it and that was the start of the pre fabs. All the happy memories and, you know, so it was, it was a good time, as I say like, everybody said, we used to sit out, it was so hot that year too, that summer it was boiling hot and we used to sit out twelve o’clock at night, erm with all the windows open, sit on the steps, because it was so hot and it was just like being in a holiday camp because everybody was sitting on the steps, we’re all calling to each other and [laughs], you know, it was er, it was good. And if anybody didn’t have anything and you had it, you shared with them, you know, it was, it was really good.

Hilary: Can you remember visiting the prefab for the first time?

Nellie: Oh yes, yes and it was, it was a roasting hot day, we went in and just, walked in and just, just couldn’t believe it, you know, we was so, so excited and, and everything and going and looking at the fridge and the cooker and the boiler and oh and, you know, it was wooden floors and I didn’t care, we scrubbed those white, you know, really scrubbed them because we had no money to buy floor coverings and things. A lot of people stained them brown and then erm we were able to get erm a lino square, so we put the lino square down, which we thought was wonderful and then we stained round the edges of it and erm the kitchen, I don’t know whether I told you me husband made a table for the kitchen and it was, then you used to get the wooden erm bread trays, you know, to put the loaves of bread on and it had, you know, the sides on. [laughs] And he wasn’t a handy man because he was a regular soldier and that was his way, he never bothered with anything, but his brother was, he could do anything. So he got four [laughs] four pieces of wood, thick erm wood, you know, for the legs and then wood round the bottom to hold them together, because it was wobbly [laughs], had the nails, nailed it together. Just put the tray on top of this, nail them on and then put a cover over it and that was our kitchen table for long enough and [laughs] he always thought it was his masterpiece you see, this table and that’s what we used. And it was funny enough we were going to, we got one given a few years later off his sister, er a wooden table and erm we were going to chop this up and a friend of mine said ‘oh no’, she said, ‘I’ll have that for my kitchen’, so it got passed on [laughs], which Rob was pleased about. But, you know, it was rickety, but to us it was, it was our table and Rob had made it. So, as I say, it was passed onto somebody else and then, you know.


  1. Great Story. I lived in a prefab in Stalisfield Avenue, but I can’t find any pictures of them. Can anyone help?

    • Hi Maggie. I was born in 1950 and lived in Braehurst Road (No. 11). We were the last family in our street to be moved out – ’65 – if I remember correctly. It was very sad to see the street torn down. My school, Joseph Williams was about 30 yards from our house! My memories of the prefabs are very happy. Us kids were always out and about – our prefab backed on to the ‘back field’ or ‘the backie’ as we termed it. Next to that was ‘the park’ and
      then ‘the shops’. I don’t recall where Stalisfield Ave was I’m afraid. You might try for pics. I have a great aerial photo showing my area which I could copy if your street was near mine. You know, I’d love to get hold of an A-Z from the period! Best Wishes. Joe Baker

  2. We moved to Belle Vale prefabs in 1960. We thought they were fantastic cos they had a cooker and fridge. The first fridge I’d ever seen. I was only 7 years old. We lived in Braehurst road. We lived there for 6 years. They syarted to knock them down and move people out so they could build the Naylorsfield Estate.
    Great memories

  3. Hi
    I was born in a prefab in Newton Heath Manchester
    can anyone hepl me to find more info on them?

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