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20th Century Steel Framed House Models in Britain

Welcome to a deep dive into the fascinating world of steel frame houses in 20th-century Britain. From the 1940s to the 1970s, these resilient structures popped up throughout the country, offering innovative solutions to housing demands of the time. This guide will take you through an exploration of the key manufacturers and models that made their mark on British architecture during this period.


Steel frame houses are a remarkable type of building that combines durability, flexibility, and aesthetic appeal. They are designed with a structural system that consists of vertical steel columns and horizontal I-beams. This setup allows for large open spaces and the ability to create unique layouts without the need for load-bearing walls or columns.

Understanding Steel Frame Houses

The strength of steel makes it an excellent choice for constructing durable homes. Unlike wood, steel doesn’t rot, warp, or get eaten by termites. It’s also resistant to fire, making it a safer option for residential buildings. Furthermore, steel is recyclable, making it a more sustainable choice compared to other building materials. These benefits made steel frame houses highly popular in the mid-20th century, particularly in Britain’s post-war reconstruction period.

Popularity and Usage of Steel Frame Houses in Britain from 1940-1970

During the 1940s to 1970s, Britain was recovering from the effects of World War II. The war had led to a significant shortage of housing due to the extensive damage inflicted on residential areas. Steel frame houses provided a quick, efficient, and cost-effective solution to this need. They were easy and fast to construct, and their resilience made them a popular choice across the country. From the bustling streets of London to the tranquil countrysides, steel frame houses sprouted up, providing much-needed shelter for many British families.

Manufacturers and Models of Steel Frame Houses

Several manufacturers took the lead in producing steel frame houses during this period. Each brought unique elements to their designs, creating an array of models that catered to different tastes and needs. Let’s explore some of these manufacturers and their noteworthy models.

Riley Steel Framed House

The Riley company was a significant player in the manufacturing of steel frame houses. Their models were known for their quality and distinctive design.

Time Period and Locations Used

Riley steel framed houses were predominantly constructed during the 1950s and 60s. These models were widely used across Britain, with a notable concentration in urban areas looking for swift housing solutions post-World War II.

Unique Characteristics of the Riley Model

Riley steel framed houses were celebrated for their modular design, which allowed for flexibility in layout and room arrangement. This adaptability made them very popular among homeowners. Furthermore, the use of steel resulted in a robust structure that could withstand harsh weather conditions, ensuring longevity and durability of the homes.

Livett-Cartwright Steel Framed House

The Livett-Cartwright company was another prominent manufacturer of steel frame houses. Their models stood out for their innovative architectural approach and attention to detail.

Time Period and Locations Used

Livett-Cartwright steel framed houses were primarily built during the 1960s. They were predominantly erected in the southern regions of Britain, catering to the boom in population growth and increasing urbanisation in these areas.

Unique Characteristics of the Livett-Cartwright Model

The Livett-Cartwright models were known for their sleek, modern aesthetics that brought a refreshing change to the traditional British architecture. They combined form and function beautifully, offering spacious interiors with high-quality finishes. The use of steel also ensured stability and longevity, making them a preferred choice for many families.

MOHLG 5M Steel Framed House

The MOHLG (Ministry of Housing and Local Government) took an active role in the production of steel frame houses with their 5M model. This model was a testament to the government’s commitment to providing affordable, quality housing to its citizens.

Time Period and Locations Used

The MOHLG 5M steel framed houses were constructed chiefly in the late 1950s and early 60s. These houses were found throughout Britain but were particularly prevalent in rapidly expanding suburban areas where the demand for affordable housing was high.

Unique Characteristics of the MOHLG 5M Model

The MOHLG 5M model was distinctive for its simplicity and functionality. It offered a practical layout with ample living space, making it an ideal choice for growing families. The use of steel frames ensured the homes were durable and weather-resistant, providing a safe and comfortable living environment for residents.

Trusteel MKII

Trusteel, a renowned manufacturer of steel frame houses, rose to prominence with their MKII model. This model marked a significant advancement in the design and construction of steel frame houses.

Time Period and Locations Used

Trusteel MKII houses were primarily built during the late 1960s and early 70s. These houses were predominantly found in urban areas, reflecting the shift in architectural preferences towards more modern and minimalist designs during this period.

Unique Characteristics of the Trusteel MKII Model

Trusteel MKII models had a unique aesthetic appeal with their sleek lines and minimalist design. Despite their simplicity, these houses did not compromise on comfort or functionality. The inclusion of large windows allowed for ample natural light, creating a bright and airy living space. The robust steel frame provided structural integrity and durability, standing up to the test of time.

Trusteel 3M

Building on the success of the MKII model, Trusteel introduced the 3M model. This model further refined the design elements of its predecessor, showcasing the company’s continuous innovation in steel frame house construction.

Time Period and Locations Used

The Trusteel 3M houses were constructed mainly in the late 1970s. They were typically found in suburban areas, catering particularly to families looking for quality, affordable housing.

Unique Characteristics of the Trusteel 3M Model

The Trusteel 3M model was distinguished by its sophisticated design that beautifully blended traditional and contemporary styles. The model featured spacious interiors, high-quality

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