We look through the eyes of Doreen Hancock who lives in a Prefab in Ashton Vale. She loves her house and garden and is practically self-sufficient but she's fighting to stay there as developers move in.
Doreen describes her Prefab as a Tardis: small on the outside but very roomy on the inside.
Built 50 years ago they’re solid but comfy like a nest, she says: “the heart of a house is when it becomes a home, and this is a home.“
The pride and joy of the house is the big garden when Doreen grows all her own vegetables and keeps chickens… she boasts she can grow her own egg and chips!
Doreen takes great care of her home and garden
She rarely goes shopping, never gets her hair done, doesn’t wear make up, and all her clothes are second hand or given to her.
Doreen has lived in her Prefab for 16 years and in that time has taken in many foster children from teenagers to babies.
She believes the children flourish with her help because of the laid-back atmosphere in the house, and her relaxed attitude to mess.
The home and garden give her a feeling of security and self-sufficiency.
The Prefab is destined to be demolished and a block of flats built on the site.
She says this will destroy her way of life and so far she’s refusing to move.
Throughout June 2006, BBC Radio Bristol broadcast a series called Through My Eyes in partnership with CSV, featuring recordings of ordinary and extraordinary people who live and work in Bristol.
The sound was exhibited at Watershed and in local libraries, along with specially-commissioned photographs by students from Filton College.
Following the exhibition, the recordings and photographs were put together by Bristol Stories staff and made available on this site.
Thanks to Vikki Klein and Debra Hearne from BBC Radio Bristol.
[Sound of dog being fed]
Here, look what I’ve got. Come ’ere
My name’s Doreen. I live in a prefab in Ashton Vale. I’ve been here about 16 years now and have accumulated quite a lot of animals: dogs, chickens, guinea pigs and er, quite a lot of kids as well.
I think with the prefabs is that they’re so compact that they look so small from the outside and people are amazed when they come in – they say it’s like going in to a Tardis. They’re so roomy and easy to clean, easy to heat up. They’re comfortable – they’re like little nests.
They may have been built as temporary, and that was over half a century ago. These are solid, these little places.
I enjoy the house. I don’t worry about it, things being out of place. I enjoy the house, and it’s a comfortable place – people are always relaxed when they come here. They know if they drop anything they won’t get told off.
The heart of the house is when it becomes a home and this is a home. Another part of the house of course is they’ve got big gardens which is my pride and joy. I grow my own organic vegetables, I’ve got my own eggs: I grow my own egg and chips when it comes down to that (laughs).
Unfortunately there are plans for this area. The land is being given to developers and unfortunately this is going to be a block of flats, well that’s what they’ve got planned for this area. At the moment I’m refusing to move. It would destroy my way of life, which I think is very important. Here, we know each other and we help each other and do things for each other. Life, and a life style is so important. I mean, not everybody would like my way of life where I don’t really care about a lot of things. I rarely got shopping, I never get my hair done, I don’t wear make-up, my clothes are mostly given me or second hand. I like things that you’re used to: familiar things.
This home and garden give me a feeling of security. It sustains… it’s a way of life.
If I’m forced to leave this home, I do not know what’s going to happen to me.
All photographs not otherwise credited created by Lisa White, used under copyright licence.
All sound recording not otherwise credited created by BBC Radio Bristol, used under copyright licence.