Rationing was introduced in 1940 and continued until 1954 on some items. Petrol, food and clothing were all rationed. The aim was to try and make the UK more self-sufficient. People were urged to ‘Dig for Victory’ and ‘Make Do and Mend’ to reduce the dependence on imports.
Food rationing started in January 1940 for butter, bacon and sugar. From 1942 this was extended to tea, cooking fat, jam, honey, marmalade, cheese, ham, milk, meat sweets and chocolate. Many foods that weren’t rationed were very scarce. This led to long queues whenever a rumour went round that scarce items were in stock somewhere
Clothes went on ration in 1941 and became more stringent in 1942. The basic ration would have allowed a man to buy an overcoat every seven years, a pair of trousers and a jacket every two years. This became more of a problem as the war went on especially for families with growing children.
Petrol rationing was introduced three weeks after the declaration of war. Each car was allowed between 4 – 6 gallons of standard petrol a month depending on whether they needed their car for work. Motoring for pleasure was frowned upon. Petrol rationing didn’t end until 1950.