Great Britain: Child Ration Book

Great Britain: Child Ration Book Education Government Social Studies World War II

This image depicts a sample Child's Ration Book, available online via the UK National Archives.  Curators tell us more about how rationing worked in the UK during WWII:

Throughout the 1940s (and for nine years after the end of the war) every man woman and child in Britain owned ration books of coupons for food and clothing. The Ministry of Food's carefully formulated diet is generally believed to have improved the nation's health.

Rationing "sweets," in Britain, continued until 1953—eight years after WWII had ended (and ten years after the rationing of sweets first went into effect).

The BBC tells us how people, especially children, responded to lifting the ration requirements on the 5th of February, 1953:

Children all over Britain have been emptying out their piggy-banks and heading straight for the nearest sweet-shop as the first unrationed sweets went on sale today.

Toffee apples were the biggest sellers, with sticks of nougat and liquorice strips also disappearing fast.

One firm in Clapham Common gave 800 children 150lbs of lollipops during their midday break from school; and a London factory opened its doors to hand out free sweets to all comers.

Adults joined in the sugar frenzy, with men in the City queuing up in their lunch breaks to buy boiled sweets and to enjoy the luxury of being able to buy 2lb boxes of chocolates to take home for the weekend.

When sweets were finally off the ration list, the amount of spending for these treats skyrocketed in the first year.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy UK National Archives.





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