An Aspect of Life Over Seventy Years Ago


Recently I had occasion to sort through various personal possessions in order to reduce the paper mountain, which had been amassing since goodness knows when! Amongst the various boxes there were a number of 'little treasures'. I expect some of you will know what I mean. These items that had not seen the light of day for many a long year and had included unique documents relating to times when life was difficult for my parents (these were the War Years) and other items that provided me with evidence of the time when I was growing up.

There were also surprises - things I had never seen, including a modest booklet, pink in colour, entitled CLOTHING BOOK, issued for 1947-48 by the Board of Trade as an adjunct to the more common Food Ration Book. Inside were instructions on how to use the coupons, e.g. it was illegal for shopkeepers to accept loose coupons and they were coloured according to validity - yellow and magenta were valid till 30/9/1948, as was noted in pencil by my father's neat hand.

This flimsy booklet was in its time most valuable, and well I remember a special trip to the school outfitters in Chingford Mount to be decked out in a spanking new pair of shoes, which gave my parents great pride but me painful blisters, where they rubbed raw.

I wonder if any readers remember the ration and clothing books of those post-war years?

John Webster