This pair of Then & Now images shows the demolition of the estate of post-war prefabricated houses (or ‘prefabs’), just off Stoneleigh Road in the mid 1970s and the housing estate that replaced them, shot in 2016.
In case you are struggling to place the scene, the modern day vantage point is at the junction of Stoneleigh Avenue and Redfern Avenue. In the distance can be seen the backs of the houses on Stoneleigh Avenue and on the horizon is the windmill on Tainter’s Hill.
The prefab site was sandwiched in between the embankment of Park Hill as it rises up to cross the railway line to the south, the railway itself to the east, Mill End to the north and Stoneleigh Road to the west.
According to A Portrait of Kenilworth in Street Names – Third Edition by Robin Leach and Geoff Hilton (Rookfield Publications, 2015) the Stoneleigh Avenue site, which had originally been set aside for industry, was instead used to build prefabs at the end of WWII. Fifty prefabs were built on the site and allocated to ex-servicemen and their families. Prefabs, or pre-fabricated houses, were deployed up and down the country by the government as part of measures to alleviate the post-WWII housing crisis following widespread damage to the country’s housing stock in the Blitz.
Kenilworth was one of the last places in England to get rid of its prefabs. The prefab site was eventually redeveloped in 1976 when Stoneleigh Avenue, Glendale Avenue, Redfern Avenue and the suitably patriotic Churchill Avenue were built in its place.
We are very grateful to Mrs Joan Heatley for providing the Then photo.