Shrublands Estate

Photographs of 'prefabs'

By John Layton

Prefabs (short for 'prefabricated' houses) were built out of necessity after the Second World War as relief housing, as they were very quick and easy to erect, being made out of prefabricated concrete and asbestos sections, and were relatively cheap to build.

One of the prefab 'estates' in the Yarmouth area was the Shrublands Estate near Magdalen Way in Gorleston, two photographs of which can be seen here.

Photo:Photograph of a child outside a prefab on Shrublands Estate

Photograph of a child outside a prefab on Shrublands Estate

Courtesy of Mr D Caton

Photo:Photograph of a couple outside a prefab on Shrublands Estate

Photograph of a couple outside a prefab on Shrublands Estate

Courtesy of Mr D Caton

This page was added by John Layton on 27/02/2008.
Comments about this page

I lived in South London during and after WW2 and remember seeing prefabs being delivered on the backs of lorries. They came in two ready-built halves which were lowered onto foundations already provided, after which the two halves were quickly joined together. The gas & water pipes and the electricity cables were already built in when the units were delivered and just needed connecting up to provide a ready made dwelling.

By Richard Beckett
On 07/05/2008

I was married in 1951 and I was in the Regular Army and our first house was a pre-fab. We lived in Berberis Green until a few years later we were moved on to the Magdelan Estate where we still live. In a gale the pre-fab's roof used to bang up and down and was full of asbestos. Did not harm us or our kids. We enjoyed the indoor toilet and a nice bathroom.

By Ivor Steadman
On 12/05/2008

My father Albert Sheldrick worked as a manager for W.Ames Ltd who were contracted to build the pre-fabs at Shrublands.

My brother Brian and I used to accompany him to the sight where we met many of the German POW's who were shipped in to do the actual building & labouring. We soon realised that these were mostly ordinary pleasant human beings - not the Nazi's the propaganda had us believe- and wanted war no more than we did.

We may well look back on the pre-fabs with a bit of amusement, distain or disbelief now, but at the time most people seemed impressed with their 'modishness' At least they were an improvement/alternative/solution to the bombed-out buildings in the rows and the Howard Street area. Furthermore, they lasted far longer than planned.

By Edward Sheldrick
On 21/01/2009

I live on the Magdalen Estate (not to far from Shrublands). It's weird to look back at what the area use to look like.

By Jamie Skinner
On 10/08/2009

I lived in one of the prefabs, on Cherry Road, with my parents and then one brother. When my youngest brother arrived we moved on to the Magdalen College Estate to the house where my Dad still lives today.

By Bob Patterson
On 30/11/2009

I lived on Catalpha Green with my mum and dad for very short time. I still live on the Mag Estate.1 believe my grandmother and auntie also lived in the prefabs

By mrs b
On 15/10/2010

Mrs B When did you live on Catalpher Green? Our family were one of the first to move in!

By Mike Godfrey
On 06/01/2011

I was born in a prefab on an estate in Hainualt Essex, I lived there for the the first 10 years of my life and remember the estate with fondness.

By Tony Saunders
On 20/07/2011

I was born in a prefab, on what was then called Lime Road, Shrublands , in 1963. I can still remember it as a very warm and homely place, my mum never wanted to move into our new house in Gorleston, when the prefabs had to be pulled down.

By tracey daniels
On 05/08/2011

I used to live on Cotoneaster Green Shrublands where I was born and lived until 1960 when I was 11 years old. My Mum and Dad liked the prefabs and we were all sad the day we had to move. We moved to Suffolk Road but it was not the same and everything seemed to change. I very often walk past Cotoneaster Green now and try to rember the way it was.

By linda Hayward
On 19/09/2011

We lived on Sycamore Green in the early 1960's (I was about 5 or 6 at that time). I can remember everyone who lived on the green in those days - happy memories!

By Jean
On 06/02/2012

I was born and brought up on Pine Green , until we moved to Common Road when I was about 9 , loved living there ...

By Kim Waters
On 25/06/2012

I was born in 1952; we moved to Hawthorn Road on the Shrublands in 1954, I think it was.  Our prefab was opposite the playing field and swings.  There was a brick house, semi-detached, at one end which was the police houses.  Next to this was the children's home.  I remember there was a large wartime shelter at the other end for a social club.  My grandmother lived around the corner on Forsythia Green.  The prefab was the best home I have ever lived in, then and since.  We then were moved to the Magdalen Estate when I was 11, we were one of the last to leave Hawthorn Road.

By Alan Carter
On 12/11/2012

I can remember the prefabs with great affection, my mates and I got friends with other children living on Shrublands Estate, I never lived there but I can remember thinking what a lovely place.  Everyone knew each other and looked out for each other; I was very sad when I knew they where being pulled down.  I got my wish in the end.  I got my first council place on Shrublands Estate; alas it was a third story flat! Not quite the same…..

By Jane Skilleter
On 26/02/2013

I lived at 19 Maple Rd from 1959-1968. Would love to obtain a map of all the interconnecting roads where I used to walk and play. When did the earliest prefabs start to be pulled down and which were the last ones to go? I moved to a new house on Crab Lane in May 1968. Remember the coal fire, gas fridge, Anderson shelters which were sheds, built in tin cupboards and separate toilet and bathroom.

By tracey lilly
On 20/01/2014

I lived in hazel way we loved our prefab mum didn't want to leave and we moved to beccles road I now live on the shrubs were they built .

By Debbie Guyton
On 06/03/2014

My brothers and I lived in the childrens home on Hawthorn Road for most of our childhood which was number 38 and yes there were 2 police houses next door. I can remember a fete being held on the park one year, must have been mid to late 70's may have been early 80's. I thought it was fantastic! another memory was every year santa would pull up outside the home and we would run outside. We used to run outside when the corona man turned up aswell, that was after my brothers and I had squabbled over the 10p lids that we fought for in the pantry!! Such a lovely area to grow up in and I would love to live back in that house again, if only I could win the lottery hey......

By Debbie Thomas
On 15/07/2014

Like Tony Saunders, I also lived on a prefab estate in Hainault, Essex. That was from about 1958 until they were pulled down in the mid 1960`s.

I used to work close by on the industrial estate and often looked lovingly over the empty fields where the prefab estate once stood.

As some of the roads are still there, I took my family there once, looked for my fathers dropped kerb,  then walked to the approximate place where 14 Burstead Gardens once  stood.  A strange feelings standing on a grassed area where a fantastic home once stood.

By Ian Burit
On 14/08/2015

I lived in a prefab along New North Road in Hainault from the age of seven until I was fifteen, in 1969.  I look back at the time with fondness.  My parents liked the fact that both a fridge and cooker were provided as well as built in cupboards.  We eventually had to be rehoused because of very bad condensation, water running down the walls.  The community in our group of eight prefabs was very good as well.

By Lesley Cottrell
On 30/03/2016

I lived on Catalpa Green from late 50s until Jan 67 when we moved to the newly built houses on Cydonia green, I was there until 1976 then moved to Middleton Rd. great days !!!!

By peter tate
On 30/09/2016

I was born in a prefab in Sycamore Green, Shrublands Estate and moved to a new build in St. Anne's Crescent in 1950.

By michael
On 22/01/2017

My grandparents lived at 3 Hawthorn Road during the 50s and 60s.  I am not 100% sure but I think the child in the photo might be me.   I recognise the toy

By Ken Jarmin
On 04/02/2018

I lived in Oak Road on the scrublands estate Gorleston... and seem to remember that the layout was very well designed.

By Jean Cator
On 09/07/2021

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