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Food Rationing

'Everybody had a pig'


Before the Second World War Britain imported about 2/3rds of our food. After war was declared in September 1939, the British government had to cut down on the amount of food it brought in from abroad as German submarines started attacking British supply ships. There was a worry that this would lead to shortages of food supplies in the shops so the British government decided to introduce a system of rationing.

Rationing made sure that people got an equal amount of food every week. The government was worried that as food became scarcer, prices would rise and poorer people might not be able to afford to eat. There was also a danger that some people might hoard food, leaving none for others.

Rationing of food lasted for 14 years and ended on July 4, 1954.

Every person in Britain was given a ration book. They had to register and buy their food from their chosen shops. There were no supermarkets, so people had to visit several different shops to buy meat, vegetables, bread and other goods.

When people wanted to buy some food, the items they bought were crossed off in their ration book by the shopkeeper.


A typical ration for one adult per week was:

Butter: 50g (2oz)

Bacon and ham: 100g (4oz)

Margarine: 100g (4oz)

Sugar: 225g (8oz).

Meat: To the value of 1s.2d (one shilling and sixpence per week. That is about 6p today)

Milk: 3 pints (1800ml) occasionally dropping to 2 pints (1200ml).

Cheese: 2oz (50g)

Eggs: 1 fresh egg a week.

Tea: 50g (2oz).

Jam: 450g (1lb) every two months.

Dried eggs 1 packet every four weeks.

Sweets: 350g (12oz) every four weeks

People were encouraged to provide their own food at home. The 'Dig for Victory' campaign started in October 1939 and called for every man and woman to keep an allotment. Lawns and flower-beds were turned into vegetable gardens. Chickens, rabbits, goats and pigs were reared in town parks and gardens.

Food rationing lasted for 14 years in Britain, from 1940 until 1954.

In 1946, when food was just as short as during the preceding years, bread was added to the ration and the sweet ration was halved.


The Pig Club

Tommy Izzet ran the Nether Broughton Pig Club. In return for giving up your bacon ration you were allowed to keep a pig (or two). Baileys would slaughter it and then you salted the pig, to preserve it. Half the carcass went to the Government and you kept the other half which you would often share with friends and neighbours.


‘Everybody had a pig’

Jean Ecob


‘We kept a couple of pigs……. and we’d take all our swill that we didn’t waste……so we always had pork for Christmas dinner.’

Maureen Wilson

‘We at the Rectory got the head, the trotters, the chitterlings and a wondrous pork pie. So we had masses of brawn – all that jelly with funny bits in it was a taste we children found difficult to acquire, and fried chitterlings were fairly hard to swallow, but the pork pie was pure heaven.’

Rachel Fairrie (née Pryor).


‘They killed a pig when Frank and I got married. We had this ham which Frank’s Mum had cooked for us and we took it up on the bus from Upper Broughton to Nottingham, Nottingham to Manchester and Manchester to Droylesdon’

Jean Ecob


Living in the country you see you were able to provide a lot of things for yourself, you were able to grow plenty of fruit and vegetables and hens and that so you more or less didn’t feel the pinch so much as those in town

Addie Ecob


There was a girl from Stanton on the Wolds, Brenda Lawley her name was, she would be about seven and her father was in the navy and he came back on leave, he’d been out to the West Indies………….and this kid brought this banana to school and everybody, just everybody gathered round to look at a banana. It seems incredible today doesn’t it...... I couldn’t remember having seen one before.

Peter Burgon


The only thing we weren’t allowed was sweets, because Auntie Sis and Uncle George gave us so much milk and things off the farm, my mother gave our sweet ration to Auntie Sis. Because  we weren’t used to having sweets I don’t think it really mattered.......

Mary Jones in Upper Broughton, father had chickens and we had lovely fresh eggs and we also kept a pig which was killed at Christmas time and pork pies were made and we had ham and bacon hanging up so we were quite well fed really, we used to take our ration books to the shop in the village and get tea and sugar, essentials really I suppose

They were quite wonderful days really........

Cath Stokes (nee Parkinson)


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