Wartime Rationing:

During the Second World War, the Government introduced food rationing to ensure that everyone received their fair share of the limited food that was available. Introduced in 1940 rationing finally ended in 1954, nine years after the war had ended! Although, to be fair during that period many foodstuffs had come of the ration.

The food ration varied during the war and additional allowances were given to certain groups. Each person was given a ration book and a points system was introduced for unrationed food.  Each person was allocated a number of points and a selected range of foods were given a points value. The consumer could choose how to spend these points. Many people were better fed during the war than they were before it, infant mortality rates declined and the average age at which people died of natural causes increased.

The wartime shortages forced people to adopt new eating patterns, people now ate less meat, fats, eggs and sugar than they did before. People with a poor diet before the war were able to increase their intake of protein and vitamins as they received the same rations as everyone else.

Young children, expectant and nursing mothers received cod-liver oil, orange juice and milk from Welfare Clinics. When oranges were available children under six years old were entitled to receive one pound (lb) each week. The general health of children improved and on average they were taller and heavier than children born before the war.  
  • 8 January 1940 - Bacon, butter and sugar rationed
  • 11 March 1940 - All meat rationed
  • July 1940 - Tea and margarine rationed
  • March 1941 - Jam rationed
  • May 1941 - Cheese rationed
  • 1 June 1941 - Clothing rationed and coupons issued
  • June 1941 - Eggs rationed
  • July 1941 - Coal rationed
  • January 1942 - Rice and dried fruit rationed
  • February 1942 - Soap rationed. Tinned tomatoes and peas rationed
  • March 1942, gas and electricity rationed
  • 26 July 1942 - Sweets and chocolate rationed
  • August 1942 - Biscuits rationed
  • 1943 - Sausages rationed
  • Two ration books from the 1953-1954 period have survived in the family and these are shown below.

    My grandmothers ration book 1953-1954 My grandfathers ration book from 1953-1954 Reproduction war-time ration book
    My grandfathers ration book from 1953-1954 is shown below and is identical to that of my grandmother. Use the scroll bar to move through the various pages. Not all items shown in the book were still on ration in 1953-1954, tea rationing ended in 1952 with sugar and sweets coming off ration in 1953. All food rationing ended on the 4th July 1954 - 9 years after the war ended.
    Use the scroll bar to move through the pages of the Ration Book.