The Woolaway Bungalows

Two survivors in Orwell of the Government's answer to the post-war housing shortage

By Sue Miller

When the Second World War ended Britain faced an acute housing shortage. Almost a quarter of the nation's homes had been damaged or destroyed by bombing (See London Blitz map, for example) and many people, especially in rural areas, were living in what was considered to be sub-standard accommodation.  Acting on a plan envisaged by Sir Winston Churchill the Government committed £150 million to the construction of at least 300,000 new homes, many of which were to be prefabricated.

A North Devon building firm, Woolaway & Sons, was one of the many companies that undertook to make the kits for these new houses. While most of them were intended to have only a very short life, the 'Woolaways' were designed to be occupied for at least sixty years and the two that survive in Orwell have almost achieved that now.

Photo:Woolaway bungalow at 31 Town Green Road

Woolaway bungalow at 31 Town Green Road

The Miller family, of Grove and Manor Farms, built four Woolaway bungalows here in the 1950s and found them very quick to erect in just six weeks. The first, in Leaden Hill, was to house family members, as was 31 Town Green Road. The others, at Fisher's Lane and Grove Farm, were accommodation for farm employees. Only 31 Town Green Road and Fisher's Lane survive and are still providing comfortable homes for their owners, despite recent government criticism of their construction. A fifth Woolaway was built on Hillside; please can anyone can give us more information on its ownership and survival ?

This page was added by Sue Miller on 28/05/2013.

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