Two Historic Houses

A heavy overnight storm left strong winds to send clouds scudding across bright blue skies throughout the day. gives this information about a post-war gift to Britain from Sweden:

‘After World War Two, Britain embarked on an emergency programme to quickly replace homes that had been destroyed during the war – ‘Churchill’s Temporary Housing Programme’. It was the age of the ‘pre-fabs’ -temporary homes, many of which are still inhabited today, more than sixty years later. Included in this construction plan were less than 3000 timber-built homes which were imported during 1945/46 from Sweden as ‘flat-packs’, to be erected on site.

These ‘factory homes’ were the gift of the Swedish government for Britain’s support during the war. They were supplied in sections using ultra tough Baltic pine. In Spartan post-war Britain, they were a sensation -fireplaces in every room; fitted wardrobes in every bedroom. Many sprang up in rural settings – as an inducement to village dwellers to stay put, rather than be seduced by life in towns. They had a minimum life-span of over 150 years, but out of 2,444 built, only perhaps half remain.

 They are snug and warm – being insulated by a buttercup yellow natural felt made from sheep’s wool. Trust the Swedes to provide efficient means of combating the cold! Most DIY jobs can be completed using a hammer and nails.

 Their unique place in twentieth century architectural and social history is such that English Heritage is seeking to list some, as forerunners of modern ecological housing. The sense of light and spaciousness, warmth and sturdiness has encouraged many to choose to continue living in them.’ 

Some of these dwellings remain occupied in the New Forest village of Pilley.

Elizabeth, Estate Agent, Jackie

One, at 17 Burnt House Lane, is the first of two prospective purchases we accompanied Elizabeth in viewing. My sister and Jackie are here in the front garden.

Elizabeth, Estate Agent, Jackie

Behind them can be seen the well placed conservatory.


As a holiday let the house has been very well maintained, both externally and

Lounge, 17 Burnt House Lane


Roof tiles

The original roof remains intact.


This parched field stretches along the opposite side of

the lane.

With much to think about and discuss, we lunched at the Walhampton Arms, Lymington. The meals were rather more substantial than we had anticipated, so we won’t need much more than a sandwich later this evening. My choice was juicy and tender steak and Otter ale pie with chips, broccoli, and tasty gravy. Jackie enjoyed a massive cheese and pickle baguette with salad and chips (which she hadn’t anticipated); and Elizabeth’s goats cheese tartlet was also large and served with salad and chips. I drank Razor Back, which is the revamped name of Ringwood’s Best bitter; Jackie drank Diet Coke, and Elizabeth coffee and water.

After this we were held to a slow trip along the A337 on our way to Eling, by a string of decked out ponies and traps.

Consequently we were a little late for viewing 10 Eling Hill, the Grade 2 listed building dating back to the 16th century that was the next viewing Elizabeth had arranged.

10 Eling Hill

From the agent’s brochure I scanned the front view of this end of terrace property,

10 Eling Hill

and its beamed lounge.

We had viewed two houses each of different historic interest. The first, safe from future surrounding development in the New Forest National Park, with its specific significance as a gift of gratitude to this country after the Second World War; the second, in a small attractive hamlet surrounded by the spread of Totton and Southampton, yet having stood for more than four hundred years.



  1. I can’t imagine trying to put that house together, I struggle with flat-pack furniture.
    When I was a boy my grandparents lived in London, I was always intrigued by the pre-fab houses that seemed to be everywhere.

    1. Many thanks, Andrew. In 1963, I was on the verge of buying a pre-fab in Wimbledon, when I was offered the chance to buy an end of terrace Victorian house. This was my first purchase.

  2. It was fascinating to read about the Swedish houses, Derrick. I think the second house is lovely…that lounge looks comfortable and inviting.

  3. What fabulous information. I love both houses, and the history behind them. The yellow felt really intrigues me. But then steak and Otter ale pie intrigues me too haha.

    1. We were speculating about whether that felt was still intact. The pie was wonderful – thick and juicy; meat tender; pastry firm and crisp. Otter is the name of a beer, by the way 🙂 Thanks very much, Luanne

      1. Yes, I looked that up about the beer. I figured as much, especially since you (grateful for that) capitalized Otter.

  4. At least one suburb of Nottingham has prefab houses from the post war period and people fought tooth and nail for them when the council suggested they be knocked down. And they won! They look really quite ordinary, nothing like as splendid as the Swedish houses you viewed.

  5. The first house is so beautiful! It looks well taken care of!

    I love touring inside houses, especially older ones. And I have a fascination with architecture and enjoy learning about when and how buildings were built!

    Continued best wishes to Elizabeth in her house-hunting!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  6. One of the ditties dad recited which still sticks is
    Down in the jungle
    Living in a tent
    Cheaper than a prefab
    No rent
    No idea where that came from! Thanks for generating a memory

  7. Those are both fascinating houses. The longevity of the older one could be a concern though. I am surprised by the string of pony-pulled carts. I guess they are preferred for their vintage charm.

  8. I am fascinated by these ‘pre-fabs’ gifted by England. So practical! What I remember about English housing (during the 1970s) is the lack of central heating, and the dampness I experienced in my relatives” homes. I was freezing cold in the middle of summer! Of course, all that has changed, I’m sure. But how welcome these warm and cozy houses must have been after the war!

  9. Oh, such an exciting time for Elizabeth; she is imagining her future. Best of luck to her in her search for a new home. Looking forward to sharing her journey through you.

    I love the historical info, Derrick. Our house is very old (for the USA) – I think 150 years but it could be more, I forget.

      1. Yes, I need to reacquaint myself with the particulars. The original house had no bathroom or kitchen, and only a ladder into the basement. (I see the patch where the floor was fixed over the hole.) We’re doing better, these days.

  10. A very beautiful quandary you are experiencing Derrick, those house, especially the Swedish ones look great and fit in with the local ambiance. Your rural pictures show a lifestyle to be treasured.

  11. Thanks for the history lesson Derrick. Here in the states we learn about the USA role in WW2 but we are never taught about the reconstruction of Europe. This was very interesting.

  12. “Swedish government for Britain’s support during the war.” ❓ ❓
    Strange, Sweden was supposedly a neutral country during WWII, For the life of me I can’t think what support we gave them, Norway was a different matter,

  13. I best Jackie and Elizabeth would have a field day in that garden! I was just binge watching Monty Don and thinking about your garden the whole time. I truly am inspired. I hope to one day have a beautiful place such as yours for my husband to decompress.

  14. Both look equally enticing. I find the first one interesting in the fact that it is preserved from future development although the second looks slightly more rustic for the internal architecture and therefore closer to my heart.

  15. My father was from Sweden. I’ll take the first house please and could it be assembled here in the south of France? ?

  16. The house in Eling is our home. We love the uniqueness and character of it. I came across your post as I’m trying to find out more about the history of this beautiful cottage ?

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