The Imperial War Museum's website features the picture of a man drawing a line inside the bath with a paint trowel: this was part of the government's drive to encourage the population to ration their use of hot water and conserve "precious fuel supplies."27 The working man's traditional once-a-week bathing ritual entailed either washing in a few inches of water in the bath or, for older houses that did not have a bathroom (or kept coal in the bath!), in a tin tub in front of the fire. Many women and girls had chilblains on their feet and ankles from the cold and damp and developed scorch-marks on the back of their legs from sitting or standing too close to a gas or electric heater. English winters were more severe then than they are today. My sister used to go to bed wearing woolly socks and a jumper over her flannel pajamas. In 1951 as a young actress in London between theatre jobs I had to feed coins into the meters installed over the kitchen sink, bathtub, and gas fire. One chilly winter evening I ran out of coins and found myself sitting in the darkness and cold, staring glumly at a silent wireless.
Petrol was heavily rationed with persons engaged in war work given first priority. Most car manufacturers had converted their facilities to munitions factories. I remember my father cranking up his old, pre-war Morris Minor with a manual starter. After the war, and petrol de-rationing, he was finally able to purchase a new car.
Early on, we were all issued gas masks and required to carry them with us at all times, in case we were attacked with mustard gas. During the First World War, "the war to end all wars", mustard gas (a chemical compound used as a poison gas) was introduced by the Germans in warfare against the British in Belgium in 1917 and took a heavy toll of casualties. Thousands of British soldiers returned from the front, disfigured and permanently blinded. Fortunately for us during "our war" we never had to use our gas masks.
1 "Rationing in the United Kingdom," as reported in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2 BBC h2g2 "World War Two Rationing in Britain"
3 "Rationing in the United Kingdom": Wikipedia
4 Bakeryinfo.co.uk: "120 years of Hovis history"
5 Email from June Solntseff, dated May 2, 2009
6 Florence Greenberg's Cookery Book: pub. The Jewish Chronicle, London, 1947
8 Data regarding the exact ration vary according to sources referenced; it is not clear whether this meat ration included bacon and ham in addition to red meat: beef, mutton, and lamb.
10 Email from Ena Jacobs, dated April 28, 2009
11 Email from Howard Cuckle, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds, dated April 28, 2009
12 As reported by Harold Pollins in JewishGen's daily digest on May 4, 2009
13 Email from Harold Pollins, dated April 27, 2009
15 Email from Raymond Hart, dated May 2, 2009
16 "The Relief of Belsen," Channel 4, October 15, 2007 as referenced in Wikipedia, "Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
17 Email from Sheila Toffell, dated May 2, 2009
19 Rationing in Britain during the Second World War: "War Shapes Lives": Imperial War Museum
19 Salt tissue pills that are beneficial to the blood system
20 BBC WW2 People's War "A secret, mythical place" in wartime Preston, Lancashire
21 "Rationing in the United Kingdom": Wikipedia
22 Ena Jacobs
23 "Rationing in the United Kingdom": Wikipedia
24 "War Shapes Lives": Imperial War Museum
25 Email from Sheila Toffell, dated May 5, 2009
27 "Second World War hot water ration": Imperial War Museum
from the August 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine