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Hawksley BL8 Aluminium Bungalow

The BL8 Bungalow is an aluminium framed system constructed between 1948 and 1950 and are semi-detached and detached units.

  • Manufacturer: A W Hawksley Ltd – Bristol Aeroplane Co.
  • Forms: Detached, semi-detached and terraced bungalows
  • Built between 1948 -1950
  • AKA: Permanent Aluminium Bungalow, BL8D Aluminium Bungalow, Blackburn, Hawksley Aluminium Bungalow BL8 , BL8D, Permanent Aluminium
  • Total Built Appx 55,000

Constructed almost entirely of aluminium, the rust-proof homes have more than outlasted their intended purpose.

Each usually has three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom with toilet. The rooms are generally spacious and all the bedrooms are capable of taking a double bed and often these properties had a decent sized garden at both the front and rear.

A number of different types of long and short-term use prefabricated bungalows were built in Britain following the end of wartime hostilities, and each type incorporated different materials into their design.

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The BL8 made good use of the excess stocks of aluminium that had been left over from the war effort, a material that had been previously been used to produce fighter aircraft. The Governments wartime policy encouraged the collection and recycling of many different metals during the war. Anything made of aluminium was sent to the United States where it was smelted and processed into sheet aluminium before being shipped back to the UK to for military aircraft production.

The Hawker Sidley Group was one such aircraft manufacturer who post war, converted their factories and production lines to the the manufacture of housing units and components.

The bungalows were factory constructed in sections of six-foot modules that were delivered on site before being hoisted into position and bolted together, saving many hours of time and reducing the need for skilled labourers which were in short supply at the time.

Despite this, there were still insufficient numbers of workers available to erect  the large numbers that the factory was producing so experienced chalet builders were brought in from Norway where no such labour shortage existed, as Norway had remained neutral during the war.

The majority of occupants even today, speak very favourably about these homes, many of which have now been improved further with the application of External Wall Insulation and triple glazing, providing warm and comfortable homes for the occupants.

Due to the anti corrosion properties of aluminium, rust has never been a problem for the main body of this hardy little bungalow. Many examples can still be seen standing proudly today and in remarkably good condition considering their age.  As with all property purchases though, a full structural evaluation should be undertaken before purchase as there is no guarantee that all components or fixings remain strong and stable. Corrugated or pressed steel sheeting was used as the roofing material which is subject to corrosion but fortunately not too costly or difficult to replace.

 

The framing is a mix of “T”, “C” and “T” sections forming a simple beam and post arrangement.

The original external walls were built using corrugated aluminium sheeting, lined internally with plasterboard or hardboard and glass fibre insulation was used to insulate the wall cavity. Flat sheets of aluminium cover the gable apex.

The party wall is of similar construction to the external wall and therefore an application of a suitable noise reduction material would be advantageous.

The roof is constructed using timber trussed rafters which support lightweight steel roof sheeting.

The ground floor is concrete and the foundations are of brick atop a concrete strip.


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