War damage

As can be expected, a country that had been at war from September 1939 to May 1945 now faced a number of difficulties.


  • Great Britain’s declining economy was unable to match the USA.
  • Pressures of demobilised soldiers needing jobs.
  • Shortages of food and vital materials meant rationing had to continue.
  • By 1945, Britain’s reserves of gold had fallen from £864 million to £3 million
  • Britain had lost 30 per cent of its total wealth


  • Rising divorce rates.
  • Food shortages and long queues.


  • Towns and cities, such as Swansea and Coventry, were heavily bombed.
  • 20 per cent of schools/houses were destroyed or in need of repair.
  • Thousands lost their homes, and many slept in army camps short term.
  • Housing demands due to soldiers returning to civvy street.
  • Poor standard of housing, such as a lack of running water.
Women in 1940s clothing queue with baskets outside a bakery.
Queues forming outside a bakery in Streatham High Street, London on 20 July 1946