Rationing in Britain did not end until nearly ten years after the Second World War. It would not be until 1954 that rationing was finally halted and these post war ration books are interesting and collectable in their own right. Adult ration books are reasonably common, however those for children and infants are a little scarcer and it is a pair of these we are considering today:
These ration books are both to the same person. Firstly we have a child’s ration book in green from 1948-49:
Certain items were provided to children to give them the nutrition needed to grow correctly, that were not available to adults. These items are reflected in the ration book which here includes coupons for cod liver oil:
And orange juice:
The owner of the ration book, or in this case his mother, had to register the books with the shop or shops she wished to purchase her groceries from and this was then written or stamped into the book and this establishment was then the only place the housewife could purchase those items from:
The second book dates from a couple of years later and has a blue cover indicating it is for a ‘junior’:
This ration book has been heavily used, for instance all the coupons for tea have been cut out:
As have those for sweets, hardly surprising in a child’s ration book!
There are numerous variations of ration book to track down. Besides the common adults and childrens examples there are much scarcer ones for those with special dietary requirements, kosher or vegetarian, those with medical conditions and those who worked in physically demanding professions where higher calories were required. This would be a challenging collection to complete, but very interesting.