How was the day structured?

A queue starts outside a family butcher's shop during World War One In the morning, the streets were busy with people queuing for food outside the shops.
Poster with the slogan 'Save the Wheat and Help the Fleet' 'Eat Less Bread' Posters like this one encouraged people to 'eat less bread'

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When war broke out in 1914, children still got up in the morning, had breakfast and went to school. After school, they still did their homework and played outside, but changes were happening all around them.

Their fathers or older brothers had gone away to be soldiers, sailors and later airmen. Meals were smaller and the food was less appealing. Posters in the street told everyone to use less bread, so there would be more for the soldiers. Prices were high and there were long queues at the shops for food. People on the Home Front spent a lot of time in queues!

Mothers, who had mostly worked at home, or at other peoples' homes, now went out to work. Around two million women took over jobs that had once been done by men. Women worked in shops, on farms and on buses, trams and trains. They made weapons in factories and shovelled coal in power stations. They also worked as nurses, ambulance drivers and fire fighters.

Looking after themselves

German Zeppelins

A Zeppelin

Find out more about German Zeppelin raids

With fathers away and mothers working long hours, children were often left to look after themselves.

At harvest time, some children were taken out of lessons to help in the fields. Some schools were even taken over by the army, as places for soldiers to train, rest and sleep.

At night, the streets were darker. Street lamps were dimmed to save fuel. From 1915, people were afraid to show a light, because it might make a target for the German Zeppelins, which had begun bombing raids on Britain. Every home was told to put black-out blinds in their windows, to make sure no light could be seen outside.

Teachers' notes

Teachers' notes to accompany the 'How was the day structured?' section

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