The Home Front : Rules and Regulations


Rationing was introduced in the Second World War to ensure there was a fair distribution of items when they were in short supply.

Petrol was one of the first things to be rationed, then foods such as butter, sugar and bacon. Eventually most foods were on ration – but not fruit and vegetables. However, these were often in very short supply.

A short film : Graham Bradford – the Home Guard, American sweets, and food rationing

Food Ration books for John and Eva Ropkins of Canons Park, Edgeware, Middlesex – Uncle and Aunt of Rose Le Maitre of Kingsbury Episcopi.
Every man, woman and child was given a ration book. You needed a book in order to buy rationed goods.

People had to register with particular food shops. Rose’s Aunt Eva Ropkins was registered at J.Sainsbury, Honeypot Lane, Stanmore.

The ration was marked off in the book once it had been purchased.

A short film : Bill Elliott – agricultural work for the war effort

Clothes were also rationed, as was soap. This Clothing Book belonged to Hubert Augustus Manning – from Hazel Manning-Johal’s archive. Note the date.

Rationing continued until after the end of the war – food rationing ended in 1954, nine years after the war’s end.

The inside of the Clothing Book – with instructions on how it was to be used.

Identity Cards

National Registration Identity Cards were introduced by the Government as an emergency measure in 1939. You had to carry one at all times, and produce it when required. If families got separated in a bombing raid, or if people were killed/injured, the card would help to identify them. The person’s name and address was inside the card.

Eva Ropkins’ Identity Card – issued in 1943 when adult cards were coloured blue. Children’s cards were brown.

They were stopped being used in 1952.

Gas Masks

Does anyone still have a gas mask from WW2 in their possession? Contact us with a photograph and its story.