1 December 2003


Rationing started at the beginning of WW2 and continued for 14 years... it was 1953 before the last item, meat was released from rationing.

1940-1945 Random facts

Typical examples per person per week:-
1 egg per week per ration book!
Icing sugar banned.

Tiered wedding cakes were frequently made from cardboard and were hired from bakers.
Paper was in such short supply that wrapping of shopping items were forbidden.
In 1941 cheese was down to 1oz... 28 gms.
In 1942 you were asked to use no more than 5 ins. of water in your bath to save fuel.
Between 1939 and 1945 80,000 civilian adult men, women and children were killed on the home front by enemy action.

Just about every food item and shopping items were rationed. Queues at shops were an everyday occurrence and when your turn came it did not guarantee the food items were still available, most were in short supply. Every person, baby to adult had a ration book with tear out stamps for your quota. Many items disappeared off the shelves altogether.

Clothing coupons were issued each year. An overcoat would cost almost a years issue of coupons. That is if you could find one for sale. It would be made from poor utility cloth.

Grow your own was encouraged. It was illegal, carrying a heavy penalty to sell your surplus. Flower beds and front gardens in the towns were turned over to vegetables and back gardens... if you had one, to hens and even pigs and goats if you had scraps to feed them.

Certain items as extras were available to babies and children essential to their growth. Their special ration books containing stamps for cod liver oil and orange juice. Eggs were also increased.

After WW2 in the late 1940s some items were slowly released from rationing and some of the rationed allowances were increased.

Research in later years showed that the population of the UK was the most healthy ever during and after WW2

An interesting website to visit for WW2 and the home front can be found HERE

I was 14 years old before I saw and tasted my first banana.

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