Talk to society on war rations

Haxey and Westwoodside Heritage Society welcomed their speaker Mr Henry Garner, who began his talk on World War Two rationing.
Haxey and Westwoodside Heritage Society welcomed their speaker Mr Henry Garner, who began his talk on World War Two rationing.
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Speaker at the May meeting of the Haxey & Westwoodside Heritage Society was Henry Garner, better known as Cory, and assisted by Micky.

Cory began his talk ‘World War Two’ rationing with a snapshot display of typically rationed items sugar 8 ounces, tea 2 ounces, bacon 4 ounces, butter 2 ounces, cheese 1 ounce, cooking fat 8 ounces, all per person per week and meat on so many pennies worth.

Eight ounces of sugar seems high but since baking was then a common and regular home activity a necessary item.

Cory explained how items were allocated on need and not the ability to pay. Ration books to record sales of the staple items, a points system (16 per adult per month ) for such items as tinned Spam, condensed milk, fish etc. Clothing and household items were also controlled by the points system with an annual allocation.

Blackout material was off ration and other items such as liver, kidney and sausage, if you could obtain them were also unrationed.

Exceptions to the above existed, heavy industrial workers and miners had extra soap, newly weds had special permits to set up home and pregnancy justified extra allowances by means of a Green ration book the milkman often being the first to know which of his customers were pregnant.

Consequences of rationing led to a host of activities and developments, a national program of ‘Dig for Victory’ led to country wide development of allotments. Works canteens grew from 1,500 pre-war to over 80,000 by the end of the war and shortages of everything meant queuing and ‘under the counter’ dealing whilst food wastage was considered a crime.

Surprisingly rationing continued for more years after the war than for the years during the war, only ending in 1954.

Bread was never rationed but towards the end of the war flour was, to ensure adequate supplies reached the starving citizens of liberated countries. Cory completed his presentation with many personal anecdotes from the audience whose memories had been renewed by his talk.

Mrs Norma Neill gave the vote of thanks for a most interesting talk.

The next meeting of the Society will be on Thursday June 14 when members will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with an indoor 50s style street party.