They were quaint, cheap, affordable - and they sprouted up all over. They may not have looked like much from the outside, but for hundreds of Southampton families they were a place to call home.

Shortly after the VJ day celebrations in September 1945, workmen arrived in Dale Valley Road to begin building a new type of home the likes of which had not been seen in the town previously - prefabricated buildings.

Originally built to last only ten years, the prefabs went on to have a far longer life, lasting way into the 1960s. In that time they undoubtedly won the affections of local people.

They provided warm and comfortable homes for families and when it finally came time to move they were often reluctant.

The builders who carried out the construction work in Dale Valley Road over 70 years ago built a total of 48 prefabs on Southampton’s first development of the small bungalow style homes.

Over a period of three years, and with the help from groups of German prisoners-of-war who did much of the ground-breaking work, the last of Southampton’s prefabs had been built.

Altogether 1,746 prefabs were built in the post-war programme to relieve the desperate housing problem in 25 communities dotted across the town, replacing many of the homes that were destroyed by enemy bombing.

Although they began in Dale Valley Road, other prefab sites included Summit Way, Midanbury, Barnes Close, Bitterne, Coxford Road, Redbridge Hill, Sholing and Aldermoor.

“The outward appearance is certainly misleading when it comes to the spaciousness of the interiors,” read the Daily Echo in a feature about the buildings.

“Prefab housewives marvel at the number of cupboards which are cunningly built on all sides, not to mention a council cooker, refrigerator and immersion heater.”

For years the homes were at the heart of many families lives, becoming their perfect prefab palaces. However, after a number of false starts, Southampton Borough Council sounded the death-knell for them in 1961 when tenants were paying 32s 6d (£1.62) a week in rent.

When the news of the plans to dismantle the homes reached the tenants it was greeted with dismay. “Generally speaking, prefab folk are reluctant to go,” said the Daily Echo at the time.

“Their attitude is understandable. Once they got used to the idea of living in one, they found it modern, compact, good value for money and above all, it was a detached residence with a little garden.

“They could keep a dog, make the surrounds attractive and, well after anything up to 15 years residence, they grew to like the little grey homes.”

Sure enough the prefabs came down one by one and thousands of people were rehomed in new high-rise flats, maisonettes and houses across the town.

That wasn’t the end for the prefabs though - the shells were sold on as agricultural buildings and some were even shipped to Iran, Persia at the time, where they ended their days as emergency shelters following a devastating earthquake.