In aid of speeding up housing

Sometimes the things we take for granted turn out to be the most revolutionary. This week, we look at a pioneering 3D-printed house, which is impressive and futuristic.

But although legions of printed houses could be very useful now, in 1947 Messrs John Laing and Son introduced something that was helpful to many ordinary building managers – the mobile office (pictured top right).

This precursor of the Portakabin was a snazzy looking caravan on wheels designed to prevent “precious days wasted” spent setting up sites. “The contractor’s agent arrives at the chosen spot, often in desolate countryside, with the nearest telephone miles away, and improvises as best he can some sort of communication system,” we reported.

It was inspired by the mobile headquarters used in the Second World War by

military commanders. “Staffed by key personnel – the agent, surveyor, cashier and typist – the caravan office arrives at a site ready for immediate use.  

The most desirable aspect of the office was a fitted telephone. Nowadays the mobile phone may have sped up communications, but it’s hard not to hanker after the chance to have a break and a sit-down by taking a call in a stylish Laing mobile office.

To read the full article from 25 July 1947, click here