Rationing Books

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Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:59 pm

I know I could look this up on the internet, but it would be nice to hear it from anyone that actually knows about it 'First Hand'.

Did you need to apply for the various Rationing Books, like for the food, clothes, petrol, etc?.
Just I always wondered how they were got.

Did you need to pay for the books at the time, or where they given out, and then you needed to give one of the vouchers with money at the place you wanted to use them at?.

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:25 pm

I, of course, haven't any idea - but can't wait to hear how it was done and who decided how many each person or family got, etc, too, our Tan.

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by June on Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:40 pm


I'm sure Maisie will know.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Cat on Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:24 am

As far as i can remember Tan. You collected the ration books from a place then known as The Ministry of Food Office, in them days one joined in what was known as a queue, you stood very orderly one behind the other.It was usually about a mile long.How you got the clothing books i,m not really sure. I know you had to give clothing coupons up. They were torn out your book. With the ration books you went to butchers/grocers what ever, they stamped the front page with their name address and then stamped the page inside with whatever you bought. I think you were allocated so much each week.If you didn,t buy that weeks allocation you coudn't carry it over to the next week.Everyone was given the same amount like 2ounces cheese,2ozs butter ect, per week.there was no favouritism in them days.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:02 am

Thank you our Cat, shame then the spare ones couldn't be carried over, but maybe those could be swapped with other people in exchange for some tokens they had that others wanted, but saying that, I am thinking maybe that wasn't allowed.

Gosh, 2oz's per item, goes to show how much had to be limited, and like I remember hearing a saying about Butter/Margarine - Scrape it on, and scrape it off again.


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Re: Rationing Books

Post by June on Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:29 am


I can remember using them but not how they were gotten. My mum did that Very Happy
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Joelle on Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:53 am

I can remember ration books, I think kit was blue ones for children and green ones for adults. Some coupons like clothing coupons were cut out of the books, others were just crossed out as you bought stuff. When my mum was expecting my brother in 1944 she had to go and collect a grey ration book whih was for expectant mothers and my mum didn't like neighbours seeing it and knowing she was expecting. I presume she got extra rations with it. I can remember there was a notice up in the shop saying what the egg allocation was for that week. We never took sugar in tea but drank lots of tea and my mum often ;swapped' sugar for tea in those days, also a lady with one daughter older than us used to pass on some dresses and things to mum for me and my sister in exchange for clothing coupons so that her daughter could buy some new clothes. They were always lovely and we loved wearing them, mum would alter to fit us.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:58 am

It's interesting our Mara, learning new things too, that never really crossed my mind before now.
I have some Petrol ones here in a book our June, but I had never thought of asking family how they got them.

That's good then our Joelle many could be swapped, so I gather everyone got their quota from their rationing books, then sort of did the swaps at their homes when they heard someone needed what ever..

I remember hearing about Dried Eggs, can't imagine what that tasted like, but assuming that was added to flour etc for making cakes, and pastries.


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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Joelle on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:19 am

Dried egg was OK, my mum used to mix it and fry it like an omelette and we liked it, she used it in cakes and buns too and it was OK but she never had successful yorkshire puds with it.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Joelle on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:22 am

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:30 pm

I never realised rationing went on for 14 years, many youngsters then wouldn't have known any different, bet that was a surprise to them when rationing was over, and they could then buy as many sweets etc as spends could afford.
Seeing the weekly ration there looks so sparse for sure, many would have struggled initially trying to stretch that out.
But how well they all would have appreciated what they were given for their meals, and of course all doing their best to grow many foods for themselves, like was mentioned there Dig for Victory.
Thank you Joelle, that was interesting to read.

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Captain Nemo on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:37 pm

What a great idea this is and so interesting so much to learn and so many lessons in how to get the best from very little and waste nothing but the bartering and exchanging sounds a very good idea if you dont need Sugar fine just get it to trade for something else,
I was listening to the radio yesterday when there was an article about when the War Started a year after Neville Chamberlins peace in our time speech , and how when War was declared how 25% of Londons Pets were slaughtered as folk prepared for the war, sanctuarys were open 24 hrs a day to cope with the amount of animals to be killed and this was in the first few days it was a story largely untold but the papers of the time were full of it and activists objected and it was not spoken about ,and its not really clear just why folks reacted this way .
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Captain Nemo on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:42 pm

Tanooma the green areas and moat around the Tower of London was all allotments in the dig for Victory largely in the countryside this was done as a way of life so rationing wasnt the same as in the towns and cities as country folk had access to land and foods the towns folk couldnt,
I wonder how many Children were told you cant have any sweets they are rationed long after the rationing ended ,
Does anyone know what the last things were to be rationed :laughs:
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:51 pm

Yes, the waste nothing got me to thinking of them then making bread and butter pudding and the bubble and squeak too, all used and enjoyed as well..
Wow, a lot of Allotments would have been there then Captain, as it's a big area..

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Joelle on Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:14 pm

I think maybe people panicked as they knew they might not be able to feed their pets. Things were so frugal, nothing was ever wasted, they even had special bins for potato peelings etc and collected them for pig swill to feed the pigs. My mum was a dab hand at making lovely dinners with next to nothing. We ate a lot of bread and jam and then they started rationing bread too towards the end of rationing. You had to be registered with the shop that you got your groceries from. I can remember having 2 oz of sweets in a cone shaped bag, I think that is when our weekly surprise night started when dad brought us our sweets and our comic on a Friday night until he went in the Military Police. I have written about it, not sure if I posted it here though. I can remeber that with our meat ration part of it had to be of corned beef and mum used to make a hash with that. Also she got a joint to cook on Sunday which we had some for dinner then cold on Monday with veg, minced or made into a hot pot on a Wednesday. She often managed to get hold of a rabbit and that was a real treat.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:18 pm

So much food wasted nowadays, like at Christmas, all buying in to excess, and more of a panic than anything else that they won't have enough to eat, and for visitors too.
It would be good maybe now and again for us all to limit what we buy the next week, to then enable us to use what we have left from the week before, where usable of course.

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Guest on Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:11 pm

Egad, I too had no idea that rationing for food lasted 14 years!!

And in spite of the ration books, I suspect so many must have been actually hungry as money must have been so tight for families especially and thank goodness at least potatoes and fish weren't rationed.

The people living on farms must have felt so very lucky as not only having enough veggies, meat and milk of their own, perhaps they could simply trade their coupons for 'luxuries' that others may not be able to afford anyway?

It's the clothing rations that really fascinated me at that great site, too - gracious, one could only hope the closet was filled with clothes before rationing started as a great deal of time must have been spent trying to alter clothes to fit younger children, etc ... and bet some became very adapt as cutting cardboard into shoe liners, etc.

A really good site - thanks so much for finding and sharing with us, Joelle!

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Captain Nemo on Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:57 am

Goodness Mara I can remember me having holes in the soles of my shoes and using cardboard and being told to make the shoes last longer and you know it didnt do me any harm in them days there was no designer things as such we had hand me downs even between neighbours ,
I have also heard how some Ladies would use Curtains to create dresses and clothes folks could be so creative as needs dictated but now you wouldnt see a designer clad youth with a worn collar or hole in shoe , or a stain on some item of clothing still its a different time now, I like Tanoomas Idea of living off what we have not what we fancy at the time and use up things before they go green and furry :laughs: as for Farms and folk in the country the War was very different and rationing wouldnt have been to much of a burden unlike in the town and Cities , a decent sized garden will support a family and if all work together can be very productive , Garden
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:24 am

Yes our Mara, and our Captain, and I so remember my Grandma darning all the families socks, and very well she did then too, they lasted a lot longer, and the darned area seemed to really last for ages.

Living off the land, and no pre-packed foods, seldom I bet many would suffer with food allergies, and asthma.
Caused a lot with the environment and with all the food additives, central heating too.
In one sense they all might not have got what we call a well balanced diet, but in another sense maybe they were healthier than some people these days.

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by June on Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:31 am


Not many would like to go back to those days smilegirl

Me included.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Joelle on Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:51 am

I remember ladies painting their legs with gravy browning if they hadn't any stockings although my mum never did, in the days before nylons it was lisle stockings. My dad used to put shoe protectors in the soles of our shoes to save wear, they were like metal stud things and stuffing our shoes or wellies with newspaper to dry them out overnight when we had been out in the snow or rain. One thing that stand out in my memory too, do any of you remember that they had water tanks on any spare land on streets and roads during the war, I supposed for them to use if the houses etc were bombed to put out fires, and sticky tape on the school windows too in case of explosions. So many memories.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:04 am

Yes, I can well imagine many wouldn't like to go back to those times June, smilegirl but listening to many stories from those times from my Grandparents and my Parents, they all said about the 'Togetherness' that they all felt, and looking out for so many too, helping as well, as all in the same boat.
Pinching Peter to Pay Paul I heard of as well.

I think some struggling in life really does help to make us all appreciate just what we have now, but in those times they hardly had much to their name, but they all managed somehow with what little they had.
I remember my Mum saying about drawing a 'Seam' Stocking line down the back of her legs Joelle, as not many then could afford the Stockings, and mention of colouring her legs. Very Happy

It's so very interesting reading, and learning, about those times, more of course of interest from the very people who lived through those times, and of course hearing memories many of what many of us have been told as we grew up..

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by June on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:08 am


'Togetherness' or, that community spirit, is the only thing that is missing today but that's because life is so very different now, especially the working environment, and thankfully, no war to give us a common goal.

It's today's youngsters who will never know that feeling, not us, and I'm quite glad that, hopefully, they won't have the same hardships.
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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Tan on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:20 am

Very well said June :clap10:

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Re: Rationing Books

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:25 am

It must have been so very hard in nearly every way. Reading this thread and so many of Maisie's stories of during the war has made me truly realize so much more what life must have been like.

Joelle, I can see why your Mom resisted using gravy browning on her legs ... don't know what it's made of but if it's essence of beef, imagine all the neighbourhood doggies running over to take a lick each time a women stepped outside - eek!

Do remember being told that some ladies used sand paper to 'shave' their legs since metal razor blades were either too expensive or hard to get ... but that aside, I'm so very pleased your parents were able to still make you and your sister's childhood have such good memories too.

I honestly so very much agree about much of our foods today, Tan. I never knew a single kid with, for instance a peanut allergy, the entire time I attended school - yet now, kids are not permitted to bring peanut butter cookies or sandwiches or nuts in any form onto school property.

Captain, my parents used to mention the 'care packages' that went from their farms here to Northern England (and Wales) during the War ... and how I wish I'd paid more attention to what they'd sent. Know bolts of fabric were involved as well as coats, and food items - but until now, I'd truly not realized that the people receiving these packages may have been really delighted to see the ones that managed to survive the journey.

Apparently some packages never arrived and some took many months to arrive ... was it because the shipping was so dangerous the nearer to England the ships got, perhaps?

We're be in dire straits if it ever happened again ... so many wouldn't know how to begin to knit socks, let alone darn them (me included) and we've become so used to having nearly everything at our finger tips ... I'm with you June, never ever would want to turn back the clock to those scary years.

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