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Collection Brief

Prefab came about as an offshoot of 'A View of the Fens Car with Wings'. In 1993 I made a number of images of post war prefabricated houses in Chatteris in Cambridgeshire. To my surprise when I returned a few months later to hopefully get more intimate interior pictures, they had been modernised in such a way they no longer looked like their former selves. I decided to contact Fenland District Council to start a collaborative project to record the remaining 'Prefabs' in the area before they were refurbished. This took me to Wisbech where a small row of prefabs still remained in their original form. One house stuck out for me, 'Number 36', the house of Mrs Swan, a widow who had lived in that house since it was built just after WWII. The house had been beautifully looked after and remained in its original state. In some ways the house was perfect, too good to be true. But soon everything was to be ripped out and replaced with new. Beautiful steel cupboards were replaced with Formica and chipboard, domestic enamel were replaced with plastic. Mrs Swan stayed in the house as it was rebuilt around her, as if she was being entombed in a time warp.