Debden History - 50 Years On

The Arcon Prefab

The Arcon model was created in the Spring of 1943 and was the kind of prefab built in Loughton.

Constructed with a steel frame, the bungalow was covered with an asbestos cement panel. 
Steel was used for weapons, which meant that factories were already set up to produce steel and steel products. 
This prefab can be seen at the Avoncroft Museum of Building.
While war continued, steel was used first for weapons and secondly for developing building materials. When the war ended, factories were easily converted to producing prefabricated bungalows and then a little later, British Iron and Steel Federation houses.
The Arcon uniquely used tubular steel structures, which were hollow and the roof was made from corrugated asbestos cement, as were the walls.
Fibre glass insulation was used, which worked so well that people complained about condensation.  
Inside the bungalow, everything from cookers and refrigerators to fires and boilers were  fitted in the factory, so it was a simple matter of connecting everything on site. Many of the people used to erect the prefabs were unskilled, some of the men employed to clear the site had been POW's, but there is no evidence that the prefab or the housing estate was constructed by POW's, even though that is what many people today believe. 
The Arcon Mark V was designed by Edric Neel, and developed by Taylor Woodrow.
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