The bombing during the Second World War created an acute shortage of housing. Some people were so desperate they squatted in empty houses. The local councils of Edmonton, Enfield and Southgate discussed various solutions to the problems.
‘Prefabs’ were erected around the area as a temporary solution. Many of these lasted a lot longer than the expected 10 years. In Edmonton 34 ‘Portal’ type prefabs were built on part of the King George’s Playing Fields facing Delhi Road. The ‘Portal’ prefab had indoor bathrooms and toilets. Some prefabs had toilets in a separate shared block and no bathrooms.
All three councils embarked on extensive permanent house building programmes. The first new permanent post war houses were built in Southgate in Barrowell Green (opened July 1946),
in Enfield in Addison Road (opened in October 1946)
and in Edmonton in Cuckoo Hall Lane (1948).
People were also encouraged to move out to the new towns being built to the north of London in Harlow and Stevenage. In 1948 there was an exhibition in Edmonton Town Hall about Harlow New Town to encourage people to move there. The publicity promised ‘New Towns for Old’. According to the council Edmonton had a housing waiting list of over 5000 and a shortage of land available for development. The solution was to move to Harlow which would be a’ new town complete in itself’ with no need to commute into London as there would be plenty of jobs in the town.