Modular homes


By Joseph Daniels 24 October 2018


At the end of the 19th century, swaths of the population were living in slums – and this was true of Liverpool.

John Alexander Brodie, the pioneering city engineer, envisaged a way to build homes quickly and cheaply.

He experimented with pre-cast concrete panels, and the country’s first modular homes were built in Eldon Street in 1905 (pictured).


The novel approach meant the slabs could be quickly erected in-situ – providing housing quickly and cheaply. The cost may have been low, but they were still built with design in mind.

What emerged were attractive three-storey buildings, with balconies, large windows and patterns cut into the concrete – a world away from the dark and dank dwellings of the slums.

We should look to the past – and Brodie’s vision for modular housing – for inspiration today. Luxury does not have to be expensive. Nor does it need to take years to build.

We have yet another housing crisis on our hands – and the future should be modular.

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