Palaces for the People

On Saturday, 8th March at 1.30pm, Elisabeth Blanchet will be opening the exhibition, ”Prefabs: Palaces for the People” on the Excalibur Estate, south end of Torridon Rd, Catford. Meet at the Community Hut in Baudwin Rd.

The Excalibur Estate is the largest remaining prefab estate in existence. It is due for demolition, to make way for higher density housing. Prefabs were built after WW2 to house people who had been bombed out. They were erected extensively, from Scottish Isles to southern England and Normandy. They were expected to last 10 years.

There are residents still on the Excalibur today, who have lived in their prefab since 1946. These people are naturally extremely upset and apprehensive about their future. The prefabs were built by German prisoners of war. Elisabeth, who has spent 12 yrs researching, visiting and talking to residents in prefabs all over Britain, has actually contacted one of these builders.

Elisabeth has produced a beautifully illustrated book, a video of life on the Excalibur and an exhibition of amazing photographs. The opening of the exhibition will be on Saturday 8th March and from March 15th she will be conducting tours of the estate, with a ”bit of a do” – namely a tea party – in one of the prefabs at the end of the tour. One of the prefabs will become a temporary museum. It will also be possible to visit one of the residents in his home.

Elisabeth has many exciting projects planned, which include working with local schools and children. She may also be working with ”Catford Tales” and the Lewisham Youth Theatre.

I can recommend this as being extremely interesting and enjoyable. As the estate is under threat of demolition, it is particularly poignant. And this could be one of the last chances for such an experience.

For more info, contact