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Food shortage during Second World War

Food rationing was introduced on 8 January 1940 and ration books soon became the norm. Everyone had to register themselves at a local butchery, bakery and grocery store and soon there were along queues outside the Co-op. Personal allowances per week were 4 oz. bacon, 4 oz. butter and 12 oz. sugar. Each person was allowed 16 points per month, later increased to 20, to buy foods such as biscuits, breakfast cereals, dried fruit and tinned fruit, though these were not always available. Fresh

Allotments were brought into full use, encouraged by the 'Dig for Victory' campaign.

There was also an element of illegal 'black market' trading.

Some shops would sell 'under the counter' goods without asking for coupons, but you needed to know the code words if you wanted something of that nature.

There was also an informally organised and not altogether legal 'Pig Club'. Certain families kept a pig bin in which food scraps were placed.

On 1 June 1941, Clothing Coupons were introduced. Ladies were very adept at turning old clothes into new and the 'make do' spirit was strong.

Coal rationing began on 4 July 1941 and even soap was rationed to 3 oz. per person in 1942. Nothing was wasted. Encouraged by government advertisements and learnt rhymes, paper and used clothes were collected as 'Scrap for Victory'. Food scraps were placed in dust bins labelled 'KITCHEN WASTE' which were placed at street corners and went to feed pigs and poultry. Scrap metal was also collected and unwanted metal kettles and teapots were offered up. The chains which linked the iron bollards were cut off and taken away for salvage.

Raising money for the War Effort was one way in which everyone could 'do their bit'. People were encouraged to invest in the nation through Savings stamps and Savings certificates.


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