The Second World War saw the disappearance from the shops of all but the necessities.
Rationing of food and clothing was extensive. Issued in October 1939, the Ration Book became familiar to every citizen during the war. The start of rationing was postponed, owing it was said to a Stop Rationing! campaign by the, The Daily Express, from November 1939 until Monday, 8th. January 1940. Rationing began on 8 January 1940. Each person was allowed a specific mount of basic foods.
Typical examples of the amounts allowed to each person were:
In July 1940 a complete ban was put on the making or selling of iced cakes, and in September the manufacture of 'candied peel' or 'crystallised cherries' meant the death knell for the traditional wedding cake.
On 1st December 1941 the Ministry of Food introduced the points rationing scheme for items such as canned meat, fish and vegetables at first. Later items such as rice, canned fruit, condensed milk, breakfast cereals, biscuits and cornflakes were added. Everyone was given 16 points a month, later raised to twenty, to spend as wished at any shop that had the items wanted.
There was an advertising song in a commercial film in 1943 which went:
Somebody’s going to be sorry,
Somebody’s going to pay,
Somebody’s going to be sorry
They wasted my life away.
Clothes rationing on points began in June 1941 and a new kind of clothing— utility clothing—was introduced, using cheap materials and the minimum amount of cloth.
There were even points for furniture, although you were given these only if you were newly married, or had been bombed out, or were having a baby.
Petrol was rationed so people stopped buying cars.
The things still rationed in 1948, three years after the war, were:
|Bacon and Ham||2 oz. (57 gm) per person a fortnight|
|Cheese||1˝ oz. (43 gm) a week|
|Butter/margarine||7 oz. (198 gm) a week|
|Cooking fats||2 oz. (57 gm) a week|
|Meat||1s. (5p) worth a week|
|Sugar||8 oz. (227 gm) a week|
|Tea||2 oz. (57 gm) a week|
|Chocolates and sweets||4 oz. (113 gm) a week|
|Eggs||No fixed ration: 1 egg for each ration book when available|
|Liquid milk||3 pints a week|
|Preserves||4 oz. (113 gm) a week|
|Points-rationed Foods||4 points per week|
Two new commodities were rationed after the war. Bread was rationed from 1946 to 1948 and potatoes for a year from 1947. The points system ended in 1950.
Rationing continued in this country for 14 years until 1954, when meat was finally de-rationed.
The following page show some publications, issued by the MINISTRY of FOOD aimed to help cope with food rationing.
Copyright © 2002 Peter N. Risbey.