The Prescotian Webzine

In his article on PGS during the war, Rod Crook commented on food supply. Also, the report of the VE day tea party has the author enthusing over ham sandwiches and fancy cakes. Today, one might be tempted to consider this as satire, but I can assure you it was not. The sentiments are real - I was there! The occasion was indeed a huge 'one off' treat, a really special occasion. It was, for instance, through the period of sugar rationing, illegal for bakers to put icing on any cakes they were able to produce, though you could ice them at home - if (a very big if) you could find the sugar. More information on what was available during the war seems appropriate in the context of these other items on the site.

In Britain, people did not go hungry as they did on the Continent, but food was extremely limited as well as being dull and monotonous. Rationing was introduced to ensure that everyone regardless of income or circumstance was given a fair share of whatever food was available. This was a new and different principle from that of rationing by the purse as in the 'hungry thirties'. That the system worked well despite the difficulties of bombing, the U-boat blockade and so on was, in fact, a remarkable achievement of planning and collective effort with which the name of Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, will for ever be associated. So what did we have, and when did rationing start and finish? Details varied from time to time, but the table gives the general picture.


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