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15 October 2014
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Rationing and Restaurants

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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BBC Southern Counties Radio
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03 August 2005

What about food rationing in mid war? Here is an example of a typical week's ration: 2oz tea, 8oz sugar, 4oz jam, 2oz lard, 2oz butter, 2oz margarine, 1oz cheese, 4oz bacon, three quarters of a pound of meat and one egg, if you were lucky. The meat could be supplemented with corned beef. Potatoes 5lb for 6d, a small loaf would cost 2 3/4d (1p), and a large loaf was 4 1/2d (2p) (all off white) and milk 2 1/2d/pint (1p). About three pints of milk a week were allowed. There were two particular pages in your ration book, which were marked Personal Points (sweets) and those pages were subdivided into columns marked D and E. There wree four Ds marked D1 and four Es marked E1, thereby indicating that these were four weeks in the first month. Likewise, when month two arrived, the D and E coupons would be marked D2 and E2 and so on, to the end of the year. At the height of the rationing you could get three ounces of sweets or chocolate, usually Cadbury's Blended, from your coupons per week. One ounce for D and two ounces for E.

Even in those days, you could have a good meal from the British Restaurant and quite tasty too, I might say! A typical menu would be roast beef, roast potatoes, peas, gooseberry tart and custard, and a cup of tea -- all for 9d (4p). Two British Restaurants which I used to frequent were situated about the Palace Fair Ground, New Brighton and on the first floor above Woolworths, Grange Road, Birkenhead.

Babies and young children would have bottles of cod liver oil, and orange juice, free. Infant children, expectant mothers and invalids would have more milk. Food rationing started in January 1940 and clothing was rationed from June 1941.

Cigarettes were scarce during and after the war, and they were either sold loose, or in paper wrappers with the particular brand printed on them. This was one way of saving paper for the war effort. Special buckets were also issued to keep your potato peelings in and also all discarded vegetables and such like. These were collected every other day for the farmers, so as they could use if for pig swill.


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