After the First World War there was huge demand for housing. However, the war had led to a loss of skilled labour, so alternatives were sought. One thing the Black Country did have was plenty of capacity for iron founding, as it was a local industry short of work. Thus building houses in pre-formed cast iron which could be easily and quickly assembled on-site appeared a good solution. There was a big problem, though: despite all these................
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Foreign News: Cast-iron HousesMonday, Nov. 16, 1925
An advertising leaflet recently issued by a century-old British iron works said:
"We will cast you an iron house, with a cast-iron bathtub upstairs and a cast-iron stove in the kitchen. Within 50 miles of our works, we will erect the whole eleven tons of iron for you at a cost of only £425 ($2,125). You will find the rooms nine feet high, with the living room, kitchen, larder and coal room on the first floor, and three bedrooms and a bath on the second. Fireplaces and a hot-water heating system are provided. Many of our cast-iron tanks are still in use, unpainted, after 100 years in the open. May we solicit your order? During a single afternoon over 800 persons visited the pair of houses which we have recently completed near Sheffield. Already orders have been placed with us for additional houses to a value exceeding £150,000 ($750,000)."
Thus a venture under development since 1912 apparently signalized its successful consummation. Cables report that the "iron house" has been definitely launched in Britain. The new structures are made of large cast plates bolted together and a thin outer coating of cement is applied for "effect" and protection. Bright red tiled roofs and porches of the same color are said to have appealed greatly to the mine laborers for whom the houses have been especially designed. Before drawing up the architectural plans, the miners were canvassed thoroughly to determine what "features" they desired. Replied a large majority of the future grimy tenants: "We want a bathtub on the second floor, and plenty of cupboards."
Cables report that, with the reopening of several large iron foundries in South Wales, the little town of Tadley-God-Help-Us** has sprung into renewed life.
**The origin of the name is unknown. Traditionally it dates from "a period of despair" whose very cause is forgotten, during which the inhabitants changed the name of their hamlet to a prayer for its deliverance.
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