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    Modular buildings UK: The rise to prominence

    The history of modular buildings is, surprisingly, truly intriguing. With the first on-record example of this type of housing is a home designed and constructed by London-based carpenter Henry Manning; upon creation, he transported it to Australia. So impressed were the residents, many more were soon created, possibly due to the fact that it was easily transported and assembled. How long ago was this? Right back in 1837!

    Read our blog post to find out more about how this now-popular type of construction came about.

    Modular buildings UK: Origins, and demand peak (1837 – 1900)

    As we mentioned above, the first modular building recorded was the construction designed and manufactured by Henry Manning. He created this building for his son who was soon to emigrate to Australia.

    The appearance of this unique and innovative home thrilled the locals: Manning’s design certainly caught on; it is presumed that the design interested people due to the fact it was so easily transported and assembled.

    By 1853, hundreds of the modular builds were shipped to Australia on a yearly basis.

    It was not just Australia that embraced modular buildings, however: they were soon sighted all over the globe, which we are going to explore a bit more here.

    During the California Gold Rush, which began in 1848 and ended in 1855, modular buildings were spotted. With the immigration peak due to the Rush (300,000 people travelled to California from all over the world), this clearly suited the times. As with the Australian examples of modular constructions, components could be compiled easily upon their arrival in America.

    Next, modular construction appeared in Crimea, a peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea, Eastern Europe. Following on from Florence Nightingale’s infamous letter to The Times in 1854, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was commissioned to create a prefabricated modular hospital in Scutari. Design and creation only took 5 months, demonstrating the allowance of haste when creating modular buildings.

    Modular buildings UK: Impact of war (1940 – 1960)

    Many years on from the examples in the last time period, the Second World War came along.

    After World War II, the building of houses suddenly stopped despite many houses becoming damaged or destroyed due to bombs; this created a housing crisis which, after the war, had to be quickly and effectively resolved.

    Following the Second World War, factories began to produce the components that were required to create the temporary housing. The homes were erected in many locations in the UK and despite the fact they were a temporary measure, many of those houses still have people living in them now.

    The houses were easy to make and cheap which meant that they helped to restore the economy in the UK, as well as quell the ongoing housing crisis.

    Modular building UK: Recent times (1990 – now)

    Despite an initial lukewarm reception, the UK have embraced modular buildings in more recent times; no longer seen as a cheap, second-rate accommodation, many people now live and work in them.

    An example of modular constructions being used in the UK is the creation of modular NHS infrastructure. An innovative and lasting solution, the NHS have been able to build and expand where necessary due to how much cheaper modular buildings are.


    Modular buildings have been around for a long time but it is clear that they’re not going to disappear anytime soon. With a rising interest and demand, they are going to be around for a long time yet. They are also a useful as they have ever been, offering housing to millions of people who otherwise would not be able to afford their own home.