BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in February 2012We've left it here for reference.More information

12 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site Print this page 

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Building Bellahouston Park Nissen hut camp

by CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford

You are browsing in:

Archive List > United Kingdom > London

Contributed by 
CSV Actiondesk at BBC Oxford
People in story: 
Bill Harvey, Alan Jones
Location of story: 
Bellahouston Park Glasgow
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
25 August 2005

The company was sent to Bellahouston Park to erect fifty Nissen huts to provide the transit accommodation for reinforcements from the Empire. Alan Jones already had an affinity for the Park as much of the electrical cable for his first major project as a clerk of works on Bourlion Lines in Catterick had come from the world exhibition when the exhibition and its equipment was dismantled and re-cycled.

There was a trick to lining up the pre-drilled sheets of corrugated iron on the Nissen huts. Done correctly, the curved sheets came together easily. However, an overtightened nut or a bent sheet could turn the exercise into a wrestling match with tempers fraying. The whole structure was supported by 8 foot radius, curved steel ribs.

The huts had been designed to be simple to assemble. A crew of six could erect one in a few hours. With practice erection could become even faster although preparing the base and fitting electrical and plumbing took longer.

For Bill Harvey there was professional satisfaction in this work. “It went like clockwork. Separate gangs were allocated to perform various functions such as the footings and floors, assembly and erection. The bases were dug out and the floors concerted. Then the erection team moved in while the surveyors, excavators and concreters moved ahead putting in the next footings and floors. Finally there was the outfitting with doors and windows. We electricians moved in next. We could fit one hut a day. It was professionally most satisfying. The project went very smoothly as well as quickly”.

50 huts were erected and fitted in 42 days.

This story was submitted to the people’s War site by a volunteer from CSV Oxford on behalf of the late Bill Harvey. It is a transcript of his own diary and several interviews. He gave written permission for the material to be edited and published.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

London Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy