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Used ration book and two ration book supplements, England, 1939-1941

In the United Kingdom, during the Second World War and for some years afterwards foods such as meat, butter and margarine, bacon and ham, sugar and cooking fats were rationed due to food shortages. The Ministry of Food was created especially to control rationing and fix food prices – they also issued ration books like this one. The book contained a number of coupons related to rationed foods – when these foodstuffs were bought, the coupons were either handed over or marked. This was to ensure that people were limited in the amount they could buy. However, additional amounts could usually be obtained on the ‘black market’. Rationing continued until the 1950s. Ironically, many people’s diets improved as a result of rationing.

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