Journal Article

Making Homes by Machine: Images, Ideas and Myths in the Diffusion of Non-Traditional Housing in Britain 1942–541

NICK HAYES

in Twentieth Century British History

Volume 10, issue 3, pages 282-309
Published in print January 1999 | ISSN: 0955-2359
Published online January 1999 | e-ISSN: 1477-4674 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/10.3.282
Making Homes by Machine: Images, Ideas and Myths in the Diffusion of Non-Traditional Housing in Britain 1942–541

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
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To understand more fully the widespread—and arguably mistaken—postwar adoption of prefabricated and systems construction, scholars have sought to place this process in its broader social and political context. In so doing they have located, apparently, a subversion of rational public decision-making, where a widely believed mythology was purposefully constructed by self-serving interests. This erroneously equated non-traditional housing with modernity and efficiency. This article suggests this to be a false reading. Undoubtedly a strong tendency existed among manufacturers and architectural ideologues to eulogize nontraditional methods. However, despite this ubiquitous promotion, key sectors among the architectural profession, public sector purchasers and other decision-makers overtly rejected, or remained questioningly sceptical towards, modernistic claims and creeds. Instead, decisions were largely determined by contemporary necessity, a rational interpretation of a broader national interest and the best advice then available. Importantly, non-traditional performance was constantly investigated and largely validated. To speak, therefore, of a determining mythology is to largely misconstrue contemporary understanding.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Contemporary History (Post 1945) ; British History

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