Kerosene Ration Card

Whilst most people are aware that petrol for cars and vans was rationed in the Second World War and into the post-war period, it is less well known that other petroleum based products were also subject to rationing. Kerosene, or paraffin, was a popular choice for fuel for many households and business around this period and was used in heaters, cookers and for lighting in homes and businesses that had not been fitted with gas or electricity. Kerosene can be obtained as a by-product of the production of coke and coal gas, however this kerosene is smoky and unsuitable for use indoors. Instead kerosene made as part of the refining of crude oil to make petrol etc. was used as it burnt cleaner. This meant it had to be imported (the North Sea oil fields would not be discovered for another thirty years) and it was also used for aviation so home use was a lower priority. With this in mind, those who used kerosene were issued a ration card and could order a set amount each month based on estimated need. This continued after the war whilst the economy returned to normal and this card dates from the post war period:

This card was issued to Mrs G M Stock in 1948 for the kerosene needed to heat Copdock Council School near Ipswich. The rear of the card explains how it was to be used:

The interior of the card has space for each month’s allocation of fuel to be recorded:

The school was allocated ten gallons a month, but this card has never been used, presumably because the rationing scheme came to an end and it was no longer necessary. I have never seen another example of this ration card and presumably there were relatively few commercial users of kerosene and few of those would have bothered to have saved the unneeded card so it is a rare survivor.

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