A chance to re-live the 1940s, with military uniforms, vehicles, costumes, and food.

Grid Ref: SJ 743 815 at the Manor
Date 28 June 2009


Fire Engine   Rear of Engine
Fire Engine   Pumps on engine
Van   Fashion
Veteran Van from Longbridge   1940s Elegance
Machine Gun   Soldier
Machine gun on German vehicle   German Soldier
Ambulance   Yanks
Ambulance and kit   The Yanks are coming
First Aid   Luggage
First Aid Kit   Luggage for evacuees
Rations   Germans and Americans
Rations with ration book   The German meet Americans
Rations   Home front
Weekly rations   Home front with soap & mangle
Baking   Girls
Baking equipment   1940s Girls
Shopping   Bicycle
1940s products include Oxydol washing powder   Bicycle
Scones and Tea   Aluminium
Scones, tea, 1937 Coronation Mugs and a radio   Aluminium Collection


A 1940s story rarely told is that during the war many stately homes were taken over for the accommodation of US, Canadian and British military units. Valuable paintings were used as dart boards, jeeps were run up stone stairways, furniture was broken up to use as firewood and fittings and fixtures were taken as souvenirs or broken during "horse-play". At Calke Abbey in Derbyshire, motor bikes were run up and down the stairs. As a result of these actions and the lack of maintenance for six years, many of these houses were beyond economic repair and were demolished after the war. Tytherington New Hall in Macclesfield is a local example.

War time rations were not very generous but vegetables were not rationed. When Winston Churchill was shown the rations for a week on a table top he thought it was just for one breakfast! Produce grown in gardens and allotments was free of rationing. Bottling and jam making were popular to preserve fruit. Bread and potatoes were rationed after the war for a time because of a frost that damaged potatoes in storage in the harsh winter of 1947 and a poor grain harvest. Anything that could be salvaged from food preparation was kept for the pigs. Now we have a lot of wasted food and regulations prevent it from being used in this way. Rationing did not end until the early 1950s. There was little evidence of obesity when I was a schoolboy in the 1950s and 60s.

There were few private cars before the 1960s and for most of the war there no petrol allowance for them. A bicycle was essential, preferably with a handle-bar basket for the shopping.

In the 1940s the only take-away meals were fish and chips. There were "British Restaurants" for those who had to move around because of their work. There were no micro-wave ovens and oven-ready dinners. Most people did not have a fridge and the models that existed were tiny by modern standards. Cooking and baking skills were essential. On the whole the diet was healthier than today because of less processed food and more vegetables. However, the diet lacked some of the variety that we have today. The rationing was because food from overseas had to come by sea and the submarine war in the Atlantic meant that the ships did not carry luxuries. There were no bananas and few citrus fruits. At that time, people in Britain had not heard of avocados, aubergines and kiwi fruit.

Aluminium was collected for the war effort. There has been some discussion as to whether it was of material importance or whether its collection in each street was mainly for the psychological impact.



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