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Remembered Today:


Temporary Adrian housing that was bult to last.

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Hi everyone, I'm back after being absent for quite a while, I found this article in the local newspaper but wasn't sure where to post it. I have translated it for you, hope it is of interest. 


The second life of the makeshift maisonettes of the Great War.

Par Pont-Arcy (France) (AFP)© 2016 AFP | Publié le 16/12/2016


These temporary huts were built during the First World War to house the civilian population, who were fleeing the fighting. These were the forerunners of the prefabs, located near the Chemin des Dames, have with withstood time and weather, and for nearly a century have blossomed in the ruined villages.

In the middle of the village of Pont-Arcy (Aisne) a stone throw from a  bus shelter stands a maisonnette surrounded by a green wiremesh fencing. Small and low-lying, with a sketchy architecture : what was only supposed to be  temporary accommodation a hundred years ago is still inhabited by a brother and a sister, who seem totally unaware of its past history. "We got the house from our parents, they got it during the war and that’ all we know about it. “On a récupéré la maison de nos parents, eux l'avaient eu à la guerre, c'est tout ce qu'on sait", said s'étonnent Alain and Jocelyne Pelletier in surprise, both aged in their fifties, in their turquoise blue kitchen.

Without knowing it, the Pelletiers live in one of the last of these maisonettes called Adrian in the Aisne department. This department was one of the most hit during the 14-18 War, and in particularly during the Battle of the Chemin des Dames in 1917.


These makeshift lodgings bear the name of Louis Adrian, a soldier who was also well known for the design of the helmets bearing the same name which were worn by the French troops during the conflict.

"They were made out of a wooden frame and bitumen paper for the roofing. “They were very badly heated, had no insulation and life was very rough.” Explained Stéphane Bedhome, PHD in history and founder of the museum of tools in Vassogne (Aisne), which is home to many objects that could be found in this type of housing.

- "This is IKEA !" -

Built at the beginning of the war, “these temporary lodgings were destined for the troops, then for the villages behind the lines to welcome the refugees,” he recounted. Their multiplication in the1920s answered two urgent needs: “to make something as quickly and cheaply as possible ». Ten years later, in view of how much they cost in maintenance, the stated handed them over to the inhabitants.

   "All the villages, which had been razed to the ground, were given theis makeshift housing   admitted Mr Bedhome, indicating that the Adrian was only one of many types of temporary housing stretching from the Channel to the Vosges.”

“Delivered by train in dismantled pars, and mounted within a few days, the Adrian maisonnette was the forerunner of the industrialization of the house,” underlined the historian. To sum up the temporary housing is just like IKEA.

"We have always lived here, and we like it that way, we’re quite happy with it", pointed out Mme Pelletier, wearing an apron. Her brother added “We have done painting, work on the roof and the façade.".

A few kilometers away in Craonne, a village that was rawd to the ground during the conflict, the maisonette adjoining the farm of the former mayor has been totally renovated; its wooden facade indicating that it has been converted into premises for the sale of local organic products”.

- 'Worn away by the weather' -

The preservation of this heritage is only thanks to personal initiatives, leaving the temporary maisonettes with the doors and shutters closed, and neglected.



The Adrian type maisonettes still exist on the edge of Reims (Marne). “I lived in one with my three children for over ten years, whilst we were waiting to build our own house, says Celik Adem, a worker in the building industry and owner of this 60m2 shanty house, bought from an old lady and transformed over a period of years.  


It’s now used as an outbuilding, he has tried to keep it in as good a state as possible, even if the planks are being worn away by the weather, and every six months he gets mail from estate agents wanting to buy the plot of land.

*As modern buildings begin to invade slowly but surely this business quarter, the temporary housing is resisting the pressure from estate agents, at least for the time being.





this is the link to the original article

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andrew pugh

Hi Margaret

If you go to Beaumont Hamel and stand by the flag pole you will see two road on your left both run up to the Redan Ridge, the furthest road goes up to Wagon Lane Cemetery. If you walk up the first road about half way up on your left you will see one of the temporary houses still standing although derelict and empty.

Kind Regards Andy 



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andrew pugh

 Hi Tom

Nice picture, I wonder whats inside the building or underneath it. Its a shame it has fallen into its present state.

Kind Regards  



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