Post WWII Britain?

captdavid

Well-Known Member
#1
I'm a retired history teacher, and was wondering. I know Britain suffered food shortages during and after WWII. How many years, after the war did it take for Britain to get back for normal food supplies? capt david
 

old keeper

Well-Known Member
#4
Having been around at that time I would say potshotpat was about right. If we got sorted after the war I have no doubt we can do it post Brexit. The only difference is, we were populated by virtually all British people who were determined to get things sorted, I do wonder if the same enthusiasm will be shown by everyone who lives here now.
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
#5
The only difference is, we were populated by virtually all British people who were determined to get things sorted, I do wonder if the same enthusiasm will be shown by everyone who lives here now.
If it turns out that the gravy train needs a bit of help pushing, we might find ourselves rid of a few scroungers and the balance may begin to redress itself. Wishful thinking though, I suspect
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
#9
I missed the rationing in the UK.
Dad was in the army and we spent those years abroad in Germany, Malaya and Singapore. Even then we didn’t arrive back in the UK from Egypt until 1956.
No rationing at all in any of those countries at that time (1949-1956)

We did come to UK for short leave in 1952 before sailing to Singapore.
 
#13
Rationing was finally abolished in 1955. And, odd as you may think, bread was rationed only after WWII. Never during it. As a child there were...just...still bomb sites to be seen in London in the early 1960s in a very few places. But there were some. Exchange Controls on the amount of money you could take out of the UK (it was always twenty-five pounds) remained until Mrs Thatcher abolished them in 1979. But...and there's always a but... My son asked his Grandmother if she'd been affected by rationing in the war. She was aged twenty in 1939. She simply replied "We lived in the country. These things didn't affect us. There were always ways and means. We looked out for each other in the country."
 

Roro

Well-Known Member
#14
Rationing was finally abolished in 1955. And, odd as you may think, bread was rationed only after WWII. Never during it. As a child there were...just...still bomb sites to be seen in London in the early 1960s in a very few places. But there were some. Exchange Controls on the amount of money you could take out of the UK (it was always twenty-five pounds) remained until Mrs Thatcher abolished them in 1979. But...and there's always a but... My son asked his Grandmother if she'd been affected by rationing in the war. She was aged twenty in 1939. She simply replied "We lived in the country. These things didn't affect us. There were always ways and means. We looked out for each other in the country."

I did hear people were never as healthy again after the rationing, we all eat far too much now, especially processed foods/drinks with too much salt and sugar in them, no matter what the labels say. My father was a kid during the war, people of those generations really knew the value of food, He would eat things that the people now would never touch. Pigs trotters, tripe, rabbit, he used to say "Hunger is great sauce".
 

gonzo

Well-Known Member
#15
This is a subject that interests me. In war history, there is plenty of material about the military side of things, but the civilan side less so.

As an experiment, I spent a few months living on civilian rationing. And found that it was pretty much as the records from people who lived through it. They mostly agreed that no-one ever actually went hungry, but the food was so boring!
I had the advantage, that I wasn't also dealing with shortages. As it's fine to have a ration coupon, but if that food is not available.....
Also, I have a well stocked spice rack, so was able to make anything taste good. Normal working class people at the time, would not have been used to these and so not have had them in stock. Also they would have dwinled as the war went on.
I did find that I had stuff left over at the end of the experiment.

What is interesting is, foods that were considered expensive then, were high in fat and sugar. Now that is the often a description of cheap foods.

The other thing that we carried over from the war, was the 'make do and mend' attitude. My grandparents were still doing this into the 90's.
I have some degree of this, as I hate seeing things getting scrapped with useable life still in them. And I'm often going through the skips at work, rescuing stuff. Or am I just a tight scrounger?
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
#17
Born in 56 I can just about remember going into certain shops with my mother and receiving orange juice, and powdered milk in tins with blue writing on the side from the government. Rickets was common place just after the war.
Most butchers shops had pheasants, rabbits and hares hanging outside in the skin and feather. The local fish shop had an open window onto the main street with fish on a marble slab. The local corner shops was the only shop open on a Sunday morning. Every where else was shut.
Places I used to play and explore are now all under concrete, superstores and houses. All the water meadows where I used to catch lizards, slow worms newts an frogs are all gone and built over.
Woodland that I use to camp in as a boy was full of glow worms, nightjars, Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterflies, Green Hairstreak, now a common race track for mountain bikes and dog walkers with a large carpark and now covered in public who really don't care.

Off the beach there was the partial remains of a Spitfire, which on spring tides if you were lucky you would still come across the cannon shells, had one or two polished up sitting in my bedroom, along with numerous bullet heads we used to pick up from an old rifle range that was off the coast near Whitstable. Used to swap some at school for tea cards.

Food was available but it was steamed puddings wrapped in an old cloth and boiled, and Christmas dinner my father always had 2 large table Rabbits that he used to buy from a local breeder.

What a difference from todays youth, its all bloody computer games and mobile phones :rolleyes:
 

EMcC

Well-Known Member
#18
In the late forties going on up to the mid fifties I can remember going with my mother to the Ministry of Food in Yeovil and collecting not only Tinned milk powder but some sort of dried Brown/Black beans still in the long pod which we children were told to chew as they were good for us !!
Also small bottles of concentrated orange juice and some other stuff that looked like Molasses, us kids used to line up at home each morning and my mother would dish out a spoonful of this sticky black tar like stuff that was, supposedly, full of iron - and it tasted like it too.
Sugar was rationed until quite late and I can remember going to the shops with a ration book and buying a quarter of sweets and the lady tearing out a little stamp from the ration book.
We were lucky living in the country because quite a few folk used to grow spuds in or beside hedge rows, I can remember several double hedges having a few rows of spuds grown between them. Kale, grown for cattle, was also a good source of 'Free' food for us, we just nipped the tops out and stuffed it in our shirts.
Wild birds eggs were also pretty plentiful. The old boys used to show us how to make sure there was a plentiful supply of them by only taking one or two eggs from moorhen or Coots nests so that the hen would top up the nest for the next few days.
Pigeons, as well, only laid two so if you took one the hen would lay another.
Then there was blackberries, sloes and mushrooms, all sorts of things that were available free in the countryside.
When us kids went back to school after the summer holidays you could always tell which ones lived in the country as their hands were all scratched and right up to their elbows due to reaching into hedges for berries or birds eggs.
Sadly some didn't come back, having fallen in the ponds or rivers trying to get eggs or fishing, or fallen out of high trees some living near the coast were Blackberrying and straffed by Jerry but luckily came out unscathed
Yes we kids didn't realise how hard grown ups had it because we just thought that was the way it was and found it to be quite fun.
 

bluesako

Well-Known Member
#19
yep i was borne in 1952, i was about 4 or 5 when i saw my first bar of chocolate, and an orange, but what about bread and dripping, conni onni on bread, but i,ll tell you there was always food on the table, my ole grandad snared rabbitts, and fetched them home and bred them for food, he got sixpence each for them in the war, good ole days, kids today havent got a clue they would starve if there phones. broke? bs.
 
#20
My mother had to surrender her rifle at the beginning of the war. She did get it back at the end of the war but always used to say that she didn't think that it was the exact same one.
Most butchers shops had pheasants, rabbits and hares hanging outside in the skin and feather.
Yes. I can remember that too. In Ashby de la Zouch. At Christmas the whole outside of the shop front dressed with pheasants and hares from just above shoulder height right up to the eaves.
 
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