A temporary museum that chronicles the soon to be terminated permanence of a temporary housing estate has itself started to ape its subjects by becoming increasingly permanent itself.

The Prefab Museum was supposed to be open for just a few months, then it gained a bit more time, and now it will linger on for a couple of years more.


The museum has attracted more than 2,000 visitors to the area so far – and much like the prefabs themselves, popular opinion has ensured that the museum, which started as a temporary initiative, has now been approved by Lewisham Council and will remain in place until at least 2017.

In fact, with the prefab estate, it chronicles being slowly demolished by the council to be replaced with generic blocks of flats, the museum could end by 2017 an isolated island within a building site.

Of the 186 prefab homes on the estate, 30 have already been demolished, although work seems to be in a hiatus at the moment as more attempts are made to preserve the remaining homes.

You’d still be advised to get there sooner rather than later, to see the estate as it is before the demolition work resumes. The estate is as worthy a visit as the museum, and indeed, without the estate, the museum loses something as it becomes a chronicle of what was lost rather than a living exhibition of the area that surrounds it.

The Prefab Museum is open every Saturday from 11am to 4pm.

17 Meliot Road, Catford, SE6 1RY, London

Autumn events:

  • Open House Weekend 20/09 and 21/09 10:00-17:00
  • Excalibur Estate Tour 18/10 from 14:30
  • Launch of Elisabeth Blanchet’s book Prefab Homes 25/10 from 14:30
  • Mystery Tour 31/10 from 18:00
  • Excalibur Estate Tour 15/11 from 14:30
  • Knick-Knack Tea Party 29/11 from 13:00
  • Christmas Party 13/12 from 13:00

There is also now a new book about the estate, and the museum — preorder from here.

My visit to the estate back in March.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with: ,

This website has been running now for just over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, but doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether its a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what your read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. LadyBracknell says:

    My childhood home in Blackheath used to face a block of prefabs. I remember when they were demolished and an ugly estate built on the site. Such a shame.

    Have you noticed that housing built less than, say, 10 years’ ago are already showing signs of wear and tear. The renders are ‘thinning and cracking’ and everything seems to have a general air of neglect. I wonder what is happening to all the money in the maintenance charge account?

  2. Barry Clare says:

    This very prefab (17 Meliot Road) was my home from 1946 (aged 7) to 1962, when I married and left. I only have happy memories. When we moved in, the prefab was really very ‘modern’. We had a fridge (most people didn’t) and the design was such that the was-boiler (not a washing machine) could be emptied straight, via the wringer, into the sink. Also, surplus heat from the fire/back-boiler was ducted to the bedrooms, though with little effect, -we still had ice on the inside of the windows in winter!

Home >> News >> History