Memories of Living in a BISF House?

 Do you have memories of living in a BISF House?

 Do you remember them being built or do you recall living in a BISF house as a child?

Memories are always special as they capture a period of the past that is unique to each and every one of us. Memories can never be replaced but they can be shared so that they are never forgotten. It is amazing how the BISF house holds a special place in peoples hearts and minds with occupants past and present recalling in intricate detail what life was like living and growing up in these unique and much loved homes.

Some residents actually remember the original houses being built shortly after the end of the war and seeing Prisoners of War working on the sites. Others remember vividly what it was like to grown up in a BISF house and the fond memories that they hold.

What were your earliest or fondest memories of life in a BISF home?

We would love to hear your recollections be they good or bad so they can become a timeless reminder of how we were and what life so special in those days gone by.


  1. Incidentally, although I’ve not been in my house for years, I do have customers in some of the other houses in Dronfield now. They have just been refurbished a little again – new modern fireplaces and surrounds, new kitchens and bathrooms, new front, back, and porch doors, and new central heating. This time, all the work has been carried out with the occupants still living in the houses. Tis brings them up-to-date and makes them much more economical. They’re lovely houses. (You just have to be aware of what you can & can’t hang on the walls…,) ;-)

  2. In 1989 the council modernised our home. It took 6 weeks and we had to move out during this time. We’d spent weeks watching the work being done on the houses to the side of us – another cut-de-sac backed onto our side garden. They removed the asbestos roof and replaced it with new roofs in either dark grey or brick red. Ours was dark grey I think. They co added over the original upstairs steel outer with horizontal poly plastic cladding – some houses were white, some murky green, some pale tan. We didn’t get a choice of colour, but I was glad when ours was tan as it looked the nicest. They bricked up the floor-length living room window to waist height and replaced all the steel windows (except the outside toilet and outhouse which to this day are probably wedged half-open half-closed!) with UPC windows. We had all new wooden window surrounds inside. All the walls were re-plastered and skimmed inside, and all new skirting boards too. The mantle piece, back boiler & fireplace were all ripped out – the square chimney breast was pushed back and widened and a new fire put in, making more room in the living room. The dining room shrunk slightly though behind the living room fireplace and we now had a ledge there. We were given the option of keeping a separate kitchen & dining room or having it all knocked through. We chose separate rooms and were one of the few in our area to do so. This gave us a sliding door between the kitchen and dining room. The double doors to the living room from the dining room were not changed. Neither was the ill-fitting back door. However, the kitchen was completely replaced. No work was done to the outside loo or the outhouse, but a porch door was fitted externally (although it swelled up so badly during the first winter that it was pretty useless in spite of having lots shaved off it to try to make it fit). We had a new door from the kitchen to the hall, and a new front door (nearly as rubbish as the porch door but not quite). The hall was unchanged. A new door was fitted from the hall to the living room too. Upstairs, as we now had full central heating, there were full-size radiators in every room (downstairs too). Nothing much else was changed apart from new skirting boards, new window surrounds and ledges, and new windows. The doors were not changed. We had a new bathroom fitted though, although still no shower. One of the bug-bears was the amount of copper pipes running around the walls everywhere – they were unsightly and would get very hot – the council refused to box them in for us. On the whole though, in spite offs not wanting the modernisation to go ahead (we were very happy with our home as it was), the improvements were fantastic – it just took a lot of doing to move out and back in such a short space of time, and to redecorate everywhere again. We did love our home very much though – in hindsight, I wish we had bought it.

  3. Hi there
    I just found this site & was amazed to see you’re missing out on all the BISF houses where I grew up, so I thought I’d let you know, so you can add them to the site.
    I lived in a BISF house from 1973 to 1998.
    When we moved in, it was of the original construction, and the upstairs steel section was painted a very pale pink along with all the others in the area. It had the original single glazed steel windows (many of which would no longer open due to the amount of times they’d been painted. When they did open, they had to be slammed shut so hard that we were scared the glass would break! The house only had partial central heating at that time – a gas fire downstairs (3 bar in a pale green metal surround) and two small silver coloured radiators in each of the bigger bedrooms upstairs (fond memories of drying socks between the bars on the radiators). The living room window was almost down to the floor. There was a mantle piece built of pastel coloured bricks with little white spots running through them – sounds hideous but we liked it. We had a back boiler for hot water with a little switch down at the bottom of the mantle piece beside the tv. The kitchen had two tall cupboards just inside the back door, the original pot sink, and a metal worktop. We had the ‘outside loo’ at the side of the back porch, and the outhouse at the other side of the back porch. Both had tiny windows which we never managed to open – or close – they were always stuck just ajar. There was no storm door on the porch. The back door never quite fitted properly and the door knob always wobbled! We had a meter cupboard under the stairs backing onto the kitchen wall. In the back bedroom was one built-in wardrobe. In the master bedroom at the front was another built-in wardrobe and an airing cupboard. In the small bedroom at the front were two draws and a large flat shelf that sat above the stairs. As a child I could climb out of the little bedroom window onto the steel canopy over the front door and climb down the railings alongside. We had a tiny front garden but a huge back and side garden as we were on a corner plot. The hedgerows at the back were the original boundary hedges from when the area was all fields and ran at an angle to the house. The front door was heavy and always slammed shut with a satisfying clunk.

    1. Ian I know Hawbush Road well, I have no idea how I forgot to add it to the list, my apologies!

      I used to work over that way many years ago and remember the warm friendly residents. I understand a lot has changed since then with re development as you say.
      I also noticed how many of the BISF houses in Blakenall have been refurbished by the council twice and I always wondered why Hawbush residents hadn’t had the same treatment.
      I hope to add a memories of BISF houses section to the website very soon, It would be great to hear your recollections.
      I have converted the doc you uploaded as an image file, I hope this helps.

      Thank you for your addition to the list also.

      1. I lived in a BSIF house in this street. My parents moved in when it was new, I think in 1947 (I wasn’t born till 1961 so can’t totally confirm), and they moved out in 1985. The house is still there as far as I know, although they have demolished some in the street to make an access road to new houses at the rear of the site.
        When I was a kid, we had a coal fire and a back boiler. There was one of the old large chunky radiators in my bedroom, but all the others had been removed. The back boiler may have heated the water but I am not sure.

        A refurb was done whereby they ripped out the walls of the entire house while we were still resident (we had to live entirely upstairs and entirely downstairs while they worked on the other floor). They fitted new insulation within the wall cavities, and the loft, and they installed a new central heating system with hot cylinder in main bedroom. They left the original steel windows though. I always remember the ice on the inside!

        It looks like there has been at least one more refurb since. The roof and upper walls seem to have more modern materials judging by the picture, as too are the windows as they now look double glazed. I have to say, the garden has been obliterated. We have lovely privet hedges all round, and Dad had loads of rose bushes that to me looked like show winners. All gone

        Most of the residents when I was a kid were families whose Father figure had been fighting in WWII. There was a pride in there environment. If you know Hawbush Road, and the Blakenhall area, you will know that the far end of Hawbush Road became Hunter Crescent, then over Harden Road to Shakespeare Crescent. Shakespeare has now been demolished, and I remember Hunter having several refurbs which all end up with the houses looking like a battle zone within weeks of the work being completed. Different clientel !!!!!!

        I have a lot of happy memories of Hawbush Road, but must say that I much prefer where I am now in Shropshire, and may even move to Cornwall if all goes well.

        More recollections will be added as and when I can remember them..