Construction of Dutch Barn Houses – 1945

Following recent comments about the ‘Dutch Barn’ houses in Fairfield that were built in 1945, we thought it might be interesting to post these images showing them under construction.

There has been some debate about where these houses exactly are, we now believe them to be Durham Road…

20 thoughts on “Construction of Dutch Barn Houses – 1945

  1. Glad to have found this – I stumbled across a small estate of these in South Bank, just east of Middlesbrough. Well worth a look.

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  2. Hi, I’m Jean Bowen (nee Jeannie McConnell from Portrack.) I’m just wondering if anyone can remember my maternal grandmother, Old Martha Jones of Campbell Street, Portrack?
    She was my Nan, but she was the most important person in my life when I was growing up.
    Any memories, anyone?

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  3. Rebecca, my daughter asks how I remember such things as she cannot remember what she had for tea yesterday, the answer is neither do I but those years of my youth were times of stress which went on for a long time and memory was in overdrive, scenes are etched into my brain, I see faces names and events as if on film. Those houses were the first new ones I had seen they were modern futuristic and I suppose in todays language “chic” inside bathroom and toilet at a time when the last houses built by councils you still had to go outside although it was built onto the house, our own toilet was a walk to the end of the Stable block.
    Bathroom with hot running water, built in kitchen all water taps inside and a lot of room, to me they were a dream. As I pass driving on Durham road they bring back a vision of Steve Small the tradesman who’s determination got the job done, he was brilliant and a friend until he died far too young.
    I did not think the house would still be the same, kitchens and bathrooms seem to be throw away fashion items these days, I have lived in my present bungalow from new and had to give in to pressure from the family to fit a new bathroom but the kitchen a working room for me to provide meals that are woofed down stays.
    Seeing what were once new sort after estates being torn down and rebuilt makes me wonder but your houses keep on going, possibly changing with the times but while they are there the memories will linger.

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  4. These houses look more like the ones that are situated in Hartlepool at the far end as you drive down to the Headland from hart.

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  5. Ken I looked at the four houses on Durham road on Friday all still standing. The two sqare ones as built on Ragworth are much nearer the road the beehives much further back which is why they look isolated on pictures of them and you could miss them driving past. They are of course in private hands and I believe one is up for sale. I do not suppose the sink unit tops and facings that caused me to shed my blood will still be there, I am reminded of those sore hands each time I pass which is two or three times a week, seems we built them to last back then.

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    • Unfortunately Frank no the sink you installed is not there anymore as the kitchen was moved into the old outhouse and the old kitchen is now a dining room. I have been living in the house on the right of the picture above for three years now and I love it. I’m totally fascinated with the pictures I have found of it on here and its great to hear you actually worked in it when you were so young.

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  6. When at night school along with apprentices from the Council it was stated that joiners would go into the attics of these houses regularly to tighten up the bolts on the trusses to stop any movement in the roofing.

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  7. Hello my pals in the north. Being a retired chippy-wood, not taters, I have just one question…..are these houses still with us,or did that so called thing called progress come along and take them away? They are truly fantastic buildings,many thanks for the pictures.

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    • Yes indeed they are still standing, certainly the ones are at Fairfield but not certain about the isolated ones off Durham Road. The Fairfield ones lasted longer than ‘square’ ones on Fairfield Road and Fairfield Close…

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      • Yes the houses are still at Durham Road as I am currently living in the one on the right of the picture. The picture above is of the Durham Road houses and not the ones in Fairfield.

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  8. My late father in law Bill Greaves worked as a joiner on the ‘Dutch’ houses and used to mention the roof trusses, saying it took a while to work out the hang of things when construction started.

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  9. Two questions, why do you think it is Fairfield and are you sure of the date is 1945? No council houses were being built in 1945 as all efforts were still on winning a war which went on until August 15th 1945 when Victory over Japan was announced. If it is 1945 then they are the two houses built on Durham Road alongside two more houses which were the more conventional brick built and square houses, all four of which still stand on Durham Road. They were built as samples which Stockton Council inspected then decided on which type would be built for the men and women coming back from long years in the forces. I worked with a tradesman called Steve Small finishing off work tops and fitting some facings in the kitchen of all four houses and have told that story on here. I left my blood in a couple as it was very hard work for a lad just sixteen although Steve was determined to complete the job. The stainless steel pressed tops came from Sweden and we only had hand held tools hence the blood. The square built houses were those built on Ragworth which took nearly four years to build. Roseworth was started in several places at once the first houses being Ravenscar Cr. Shortly after they began Building Rudyard Ave and the area around plus some houses at the top of Renvyle Ave. people were moving in to Roseworth shortly after 1950. The land on Durham Road the houses were built on was at the time a long meadow, the houses being built in an open space between existing houses, Arthur Brown of Browns Sheet Metal Works lived in a pre-war house a short distance from those houses.
    I am sure all this could be checked by a look at the Council notes at the time.

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  10. If you go in my loft you can see the roof trusses and you are correct they are many small pieces all intersecting. Its like a work of art!

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    • Our Art Master at Richard Hind, Sid Buckley described the roof trusses as geodic like the Wellington bomber. The main advantage is that it leaves the roof space free. My recollection when going past the houses in the late 1970s was that the roofs had begun to fall in to some extent. One of the features of the Wellington was that the wings and fusilage, although strong were very flexible. The joints allowed the the angle between the individual metal formers to change. Perhaps this was the reason why the roofs distorted a bit

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  11. Fascinating! Could somebody skilled in the art tell us how the roof trusses are put together? The intersecting diagonals appear to consist of a multitude of pieces only two or three feet long, and prompt me to wonder if the architect came across a Wellington bomber during the war.

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  12. Its really interesting to see these pictures. I am still adamant that the pictures are of Durham Road. Is it possible for me to send in some pictures of the houses now for comparison??

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