Thursday, 5 November 2015

Rationing at Belmont

I came across a ration book in one of our files today. Dated from the 1950s and still containing a lot of its coupons, it’s a good representative of life in the UK after World War Two. Every young person that was in the Belmont Homes during that time would have been issued with a ration book. So what were these and what were they for?

Ration Book 1953-1954

At the beginning of 1939, the United Kingdom was importing 55 million tons of food per year. This was around 70% of its products. One of the principal strategies of Germany during the War was to target the ships bound for Britain, effecting both industry and food supplies.  

In response to the shortages that this created, the Ministry of Food instituted a system of rationing. Each individual was registered with chosen shops and issued with a ration book containing coupons for various foodstuffs. Purchasers had to take ration books with them when shopping, so the relevant coupons could be cancelled. 

The year of this book,1954, was the final year of rationing in England. It had taken nine years after the end of World War Two for food supplies to return to normal. Belmont Homes grew a lot of its own produce on site to help with the food shortage and an orchard next to the sanatorium provided fruit and vegetables.

 Orchard at Belmont
It is an interesting find in our archive collection and provides a useful insight into the effects of World War Two on the charity.

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