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Small Working Class Houses
by Friedhelm Weidelich
There is no term in English for Siedlungshäuser (maybe estate houses). These were small, standardized houses for workers. They were built in Germany, for example, for miners or were created as new housing areas on the outskirts of towns and villages to provide housing for workers, mainly after WW I and WW II. They were often financed by employers or supported with subsidies. However, so-called housing associations also helped workers to buy a house with little money and to finance them over 30 years.
The model builder, who also supplied the photos, had the idea of a row of houses with estate houses nice and long. Sometimes chance helps: During a vacation in Bavaria, an article about the anniversary of a Neckarsulm building cooperative appeared in the daily newspaper "Heilbronner Stimme". It was immediately clear to him: These are exactly the houses he had in mind!
He began with the research. First a call to the building cooperative, which no longer had any documents. Second attempt at the building office of the city of Neckarsulm and lo and behold: the original plans were found in the archives (praise be to German thoroughness!). A small "model house settlement" was created, as it had been more than a hundred years ago, with four different types of houses, which were faithfully implemented for the "Layout 10" shown here in 2019 and have since been refined once again.
The Neckarsulm vehicle works was one of the forerunners of the Audi company and carried the NSU brand name from 1913. In view of the housing shortage, the managing directors were far-sighted and supported the founding of a building cooperative. Settlement houses were new buildings on the outskirts of a town or in a newly developed area - a housing estate. The monthly charge was affordable even for workers and created inexpensive housing where the free market failed.
Not only the construction, but also the research on such models is always an incentive for model builders. Worker's houses of this generation are excellent for all eras, initially as newly built, today they are more commonly called "grandma's little house". After a hundred years, the demands have changed. Kitchen, several small living rooms and bedrooms, cellar and garden for self-sufficiency were necessary at that time and after the two world wars a pure necessity to accommodate the so-called displaced persons. Today, living spaces of 10 to 12 square meters are perceived as cramped.
This post is meant to inspire you to look for examples you could build for your layout or diorama. The research is fun and often leads to interesting local history traces - or to foreign motifs that you would like to have at home. Buildings designed individually and according to the prototype look authentic and are more convincing than a hodgepodge of models from a wide variety of sources, regions and eras.
Here you can see the houses on layout 10. I showed this impressive layout in August and September 2019. Since it is still displayed with the old software, I do not want to link directly. Because you have to log out here first and log in to the old software with your username and password spur1info, otherwise you will get error messages. I will try to repost the 173 pictures of the layout here again.
On Layout #10 (photos: F. Weidelich)
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