Wartime Huts: The Development, Typology, and Identification of Temporary Military Buildings in Britain 1914-1945

Draper, Karey Lee 

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Wartime Huts: The Development, Typology and Identification of Temporary Military Buildings in Britain 1914-1945

By, Karey L. Draper Faculty of Architecture University of Cambridge

The use of temporary, prefabricated buildings in Britain during the twentieth century arose from wartime need to provide better, and perhaps more importantly, portable shelter for troops and equipment. This thesis provides the first comprehensive list of hut designs for the First and Second World Wars. The full lists and descriptions of each hut are given in the appendices. These lists, 20 types for the First World War and 52 from the Second World War, show the huge range and scope of the huts used and is the major contribution of this thesis. The concentration here is on generic types. Some huts were designed as one-offs and there is no possible way to catalogue these. This thesis has focused instead on those designs or industrially-produced types, which were meant to be produced en-masse as generic solutions to the problem: the sort of hut that might justifiably be given a name (such as a ‘Tarran’, a ‘Seco’, etc.). This thesis provides essential information enabling historians to be able to identify these types. It uses primary and secondary sources to trace the development of these huts and the effect that wartime shortages had on their design. Beginning with the earliest examples of temporary military building, it then focuses on the huts of the First and Second World Wars followed by a study of huts grouped in chapters by material. This research shows that the wartime period pushed industry to make giant leaps forward with construction methods and materials in just a few short years, where otherwise it may have taken decades. This thesis aims to provide the first overview of this process and to enable future researchers to identify and understand the development of these important wartime structures, many of which survive to this day.

Campbell, James W. P.
prefabrication, first world war, second world war, architecture, huts, wartime building, military building, engineering, royal engineers, war office, ministry of works, armstrong hut, nissen hut, plasterboard, Building Research Station, concrete, corrugated iron, British History, alternative materials, hutted hospitals, control of building materials, accommodation, temporary architecture, portable architecture, post-war housing, Crimean war
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain PhD Scholarship (2015)