Many people believe that modular buildings are a modern invention, simply because of how they look. However, would it surprise you to learn that modular building design and construction can be traced right back to as early as the late 1800’s?

The First Modular Buildings

Looking back through history, the first modular buildings that appear on record belonged to – and were designed and constructed by – a carpenter from London called Henry Manning who created a prefabricated building which was known as the Manning cottage.

His building was created in preparation of his son emigrating to Australia in 1837. The idea behind this prefabricated building was to create a home which could be shipped across the world in parts and reassembled when it reached its destination.

As you would expect, this building design proved to be increasingly popular, and records show that in 1853, popularity and demand of prefabricated (or modular) buildings had risen significantly, with several hundred modular buildings arriving in Australia from around the world.

Even during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale reported that renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel has been instructed and commissioned to create a modular building that was to be used as a hospital in 1855. The building was able to hold 1,000 patients and had a wide range of facilities such as ventilation and flushing toilets, and was situated in a large village called Scutari on the Bosphorus Strait.

Helping the People

As these buildings were easily transported and erected, it is no wonder that many settlers were looking to invest in a modular building.

During the Gold Rush in California of 1848 to 1855, modular home kits were created for the prospectors who would need to move around due to the nature of their work; they’d always have somewhere to shelter if needs be.

The Second World War also brought a boost in the popularity of the modular building, this time protecting and giving shelter to the legions fighting on the front line. Buildings which would be known as Nissen huts and Bellman Hangars would be erected, and following the war, prefabricated buildings would be implemented as a means of providing quick but effective housing options for those who lost their homes during the Blitz.

Liverpool had been the location for the very first modular apartment blocks thanks to the engineering genius of John Alexander Brodie, but the modular scene never really made it big in the UK, but became incredibly popular within the rest of Europe.

However, in more recent years, the modular building has been making a comeback here in the UK, and more and more people are recognising the benefits to using this type of construction. With years of heritage behind them, and companies like ourselves who have dedicated our time and effort into improving on the incredible designs that have made their way through history, there’s no reason to disregard the modular building just yet – they’re really only just beginning to show their full potential!

If you’d like to find out more about these historical buildings and how Excel Modular can help you find the perfect modular build for your needs, feel free to get in touch with us today where a member of our team will be more than happy to help.