28th September 1946
Wallasey’s “Pre-Fab” Dwellers Have “No Complaints”
But Drying Space Is A Difficulty
Opinions of a cross-section of Wallasey’s “pre-fab” dwellers, collected by the Wallasey Chronicle yesterday, reveal that on the whole there are “no complaints,” after the first few weeks of occupation.
Wallasey residents have viewed the unusual structures only from the outside and have wondered what the inhabitants think of their new type homes.
Yesterday Chronicle reporters chose, at random, occupiers of the estates in Lancaster Avenue, Poulton Road, and Borough Road, Seacombe, and invited them to express their views. The unanimous verdict has been “perfect!”
The only criticism received, and this housewife begged it to be stated that she was most certainly not complaining, was that there is a difficulty in drying clothes.
The recent wet weather made it impossible to hang washing out of doors and although the heating arrangements in the pre-fabs are excellent for room-heating purposes, they do not throw out enough heat to dry clothes.
This is a real difficulty when it is remembered that most dwellers have at least one child.
Mrs. Walmsley, 25 years old wife of ex-navy man Mr. H.F. Walmsley of 272 Poulton Road, mother of a four-year-old daughter and a 10 months old son, told the Chronicle:-
“I sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. A house of my own, room for the children to play! After so long in furnished rooms, this is just heavily.”
It was Mrs. Walmsley who feels the pre-fabs would be better fitted with a lower more open firegate for drying purposes.
Mr and Mrs Walmsley were bombed out of Burnside Road and have in furnished rooms ever since. This little “heaven” as she calls it, is her first real home since she was 13 years of age.
Mrs F Lonsdale, wife of a trimmer, mother of 11 months-old Frieda and 6 years-old Marjorie said, “I just can’t find words to say how lovely these houses are.”
Mr Lonsdale, ex-King’s Regt., wounded at Cassino, demobbed in February spends most of his spare time on his plot of garden in front of the house. Bulbs are his chief problem at the moment but he shares his wife’s sentiments as regards their new home.
Notice To Quit
One couple with one child, occupying a “pre-fab,” told the Chronicle they had had notice to quit their new home, within a few days of occupying it.
Reason, stated the housewife, was that when her application for a house was made three years ago, she was occupying rooms in her mother’s house in overcrowded conditions. She moved later to a small house in the Seacombe area, but owing to the condition of this house, she and her husband accepted the offer of a “pre-fab” from the corporation. Neighbours, she alleges immediately complained. And the authorities, according to her, have issued notice to quit the premises.
Visiting Lancaster Avenue site, a Chronicle reporter called upon three housewives whose husbands all proved to be former members of the R.A.F. demobilised within the last 12 months.
Mr R Fisher, one of the first tenants to move in, whose address is actually 2 Wimbledon Street, said, “I know pre-fabs have been called for everything in other parts of the country: but they really are marvellous.”
She has two small children, a boy in his second year and a girl aged 6 months.
The only “snag” she could think of was that as garden fences had not yet been erected children made rather a nuisance of themselves by playing eound between the houses. Already one of her windows had been broken by children throwing stones.
“When we first came, sightseers bothered us,” she added, and the first Sunday there was a procession of people walking around the houses and peering in at the windows.”
Formerly uncomfortably cramped in a boarding house bed-sitting, the Fishers now find they have “plenty of room,” and “every convenience.”
They were a little worried about the attitude the authorities might adopt towards their full-sized Alsatian pet; but permission to keep him was grated without question and he now sits at the kitchen door with an air of complete satisfaction.
Mrs J White, who moved into No. 12 at the opposite end of Wimbledon Street 10 weeks ago, said that she was “perfectly happy” in this “first home of my own.” She had two small children, and had formerly lived with her parents.
Her washing had to be done indoors, in the kitchenette where the washing machine was fitted, but that caused no inconvenience so long as windows were kept open walls did not become unpleasantly steamed.
At present “everyone” was using her “garden” as a public footpath and schoolchildren were a particular nuisance: but she did not intend that comment as a complaint because the nuisance would surely be eliminated as soon as the Council erected garden fences.
Mrs D McFarlane, of 36 Lancaster Avenue, whose home is in the third row of prefabs from the Wimbledon Street “front,” and at whose door stands a single evergreen – the only flower in a barren wilderness of yet untended gardens – said that her husband (who has 6 years R.A.F. service to his credit) was “doubtful about coming” as it promised to be “too much like returning to camp life.” His fears had, however, been unnecessary: her neighbours were friendly, but there was no “camp atmosphere.”
The prefab was a marvellous change from living with her two baby boys in one room and sharing a kitchen with other people, and the prefab kitchen was a dream.
She wished, however, that something could be done to stop the children roller-skating down the ramp leading into Urmson Road for the noise was disturbing and frequently woke her children in the evening.