Ration Book 1953 - 1954
Ration book of Lew Lloyd, former chairman (twice) of Litherland Urban District Council

Rationing was introduced because of difficulties importing food to Britain by boat during the war, to ensure everyone had their fair share and to prevent people stockpiling foodstuffs.

Various essential and non-essential foods were rationed, such as clothes, furniture and fuel. Rationing of sweets and chocolate began on 26 July 1942.

During the war, health experts from the Ministry of Food ensured that the British people had a balanced diet.

Householders were told they were on the "Kitchen Front" and that they had a duty to use foods to their greatest advantage.

The Ministry devised characters such as Potato Pete and Dr Carrot to put their message across.

The process of de-rationing began in 1948, but made slow progress until 1953. Then Food Minister Gwilym Lloyd-George made it a priority for his department.
1952: 3rd October - Tea rationing to end
News of the end of tea rationing means Britons will soon be able to enjoy unlimited "cuppas" for the first time in 12 years.

During a speech in Newcastle the Minister of Food, Major Gwilym Lloyd-George, said rationing and price controls on tea would be lifted on Sunday.

Major Lloyd-George said the Ministry of Food had taken advantage of a steady improvement in supplies of tea since the end of the war.

The price of tea would not rise due to the abolition of price controls, Major Lloyd-George added.

And he hinted at a further easing of rationing in the near future.
"We are getting out of the import of raw sugar and - it is only a little matter - we are getting out of the banana trade soon," he said.

De-rationing schedule
The lifting of tea rationing follows the UK's recent re-entry into the international tea trading arena with the resumption of public tea auctions in London.

Nearly a third of the tea produced in the world is consumed in the UK and Ireland and the government is no doubt hoping for a boost in popularity by making the nation's favourite beverage freely available again.

However, a rush to buy tea is not anticipated as the weekly ration was increased to 3oz per head - the pre-war consumption level - some time ago.

Rationing has been in force since January 1940, a few months after the start of the Second World War.

In 1948 the government announced the start of a de-rationing programme but so far little progress has been made.

1954: 4th July - Housewives celebrate end of rationing

Fourteen years of food rationing in Britain ended at midnight when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were lifted.

Members of the London Housewives' Association held a special ceremony in London's Trafalgar Square to mark Derationing Day.

The Minister of Fuel and Power, Geoffrey Lloyd, burned a large replica of a ration book at an open meeting in his constituency.

But the Minister of Food, Major Gwilym Lloyd-George, told a meeting at Bebington in Cheshire he would keep his as a souvenir and praised all those traders and organisations that had co-operated with the rationing system.

For the first time since the war began in 1939 London's Smithfield Market opened at midnight instead of 0600 and meat sellers were doing a roaring trade.

High prices
Although the final step in dismantling the whole wartime system of food distribution comes into effect, it's not all good news.

Butchers are predicting meat prices will soar for the next couple of weeks until the effect of supply and demand cools the situation down.

In February the Ministry of Food stopped controlling the sale of pork and announced it would end all food rationing this summer.

Food rationing began on 8 January 1940, four months after the outbreak of war.

Limits were imposed on the sale of bacon, butter and sugar.

Then on 11 March 1940 all meat was rationed. Clothes coupons were introduced and a black market soon developed while queueing outside shops and bartering for extra food became a way of life.

There were allowances made for pregnant women who used special green ration books to get extra food rations, and breastfeeding mothers had extra milk.

Restrictions were gradually lifted three years after war had ended, starting with flour on 25 July 1948, followed by clothes on 15 March 1949.

On 19 May 1950 rationing ended for canned and dried fruit, chocolate biscuits, treacle, syrup, jellies and mincemeat.

Petrol rationing, imposed in 1939, ended in May 1950 followed by soap in September 1950.

Three years later sales of sugar were off ration and last May butter rationing ended.
 


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