Austin Village

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Some of the two hundred cedar wood prefabricated bungalows, erected during World War I in Austin Village
Austin Village between the wars — Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map, 1936, showing fields around the village

Austin Village is a World War I housing estate of prefabs between Longbridge and Northfield, Birmingham, England.

Herbert Austin, who created the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge in 1905, had to take on more workers during the First World War when his factory became involved in making tanks and aircraft. In 1917, he built a new estate for his employees in Turves Green on land bought for £7,750.[1] He imported 200 red cedar wood pre-fabricated bungalows from The Aladdin Company, Bay City, Michigan.[1] They were shipped across the Atlantic and survived potential loss by U-boat attack. These were erected with twenty-five conventional brick-built semi-detached houses at intervals to create firebreaks.[1] They were fitted with coke-fired central heating, gas cooker, gas water boiler, sink and drainer, and a bathroom with bath.[2] The external size of the bungalows was 20 feet 6 inches (6.25 m) wide by 35 feet 3 inches (10.74 m) deep with an additional porch at the front and boiler room at the rear. The three bedrooms were each 9 feet 7 inches (2.92 m) square.[2] The brick houses were also fitted with two gas fires.[2]

Two octagonal children's shelters were built in the islands in Rowan and Laburnum Way but these have now gone.[2] Hawkesley Farm buildings were converted to a village hall and club room.[2]

Mature trees were planted along the roads: Central Avenue, Hawkesley Crescent, Hawkesley Drive, Coney Green Drive, Cypress Way, Cedar Way, Laburnum Way, Rowan Way and Maple Way. The village was completed in eleven months and rented to Austin workers with seven in each bungalow and twelve in each house.[1]

A wooden Baptist church (now demolished) was built opposite the north end of Central Drive and a Church of England church (Church of the Epiphany, now gone) was built on the corner of The Oak Walk.[3]

After the war the requirement for workers reduced and the bungalows sold. The estate is now occupied and surrounded by conventional suburban housing. It forms the Austin Village Conservation Area.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Birmingham - The Building of a City, Joseph McKenna, Tempus Publishing Ltd. 2005, ISBN 0-7524-3489-6
  2. ^ a b c d e The Austin Village, Austin Village Preservation Society, 2002, ISBN 0-9541312-0-7
  3. ^ Austin Village Preservation Society, H. W. Mason, 1998
  4. ^ Birmingham City Council - Austin Village Conservation Area

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°24′04″N 1°58′23″W / 52.401°N 1.973°W / 52.401; -1.973