Sunday, 28 November 2010

Famly Miscellany - Crisis What Crisis?

I've been rummaging back through the family archive (aka 'mom's old biscuit tin') this weekend and here's an interesting document, a bread ration card.

But before anyone jumps to the same conclusion that I did, that this must be from the 2nd World War, take a closer look at the dates on the card and you'll be reminded that this card relates to bread rationing of 1979 - 1980.  




Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan generally gets the blame for the strikes of late 1978 to early 1979, which became known as the Winter of Discontent and for his famous remark to the press "Crisis what crisis?". The strikes of November 1978 did include a bread strike which led to panic buying.

But by the summer of 1979 Callaghan had been voted out of power and Britain's first female PM, the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher had taken over.

So I am slightly confused at the dates on this ration card which would have been 12 months after the bread strikes of November 1978. 

Was there another bread strike under Mrs Thatcher or did bread rationing go on for a further 18 months after the winter of discontent?

The card, by the way, is registered to my mom Joan Millington at our old family address at 107 Station Road in Harborne. I would have been 18 years old when this was going on so perhaps bread was not on my personal list of priorities (or not that kind of bread anyway). Although I do remember sugar rationing as I was working in Asda on Harborne High Street in about 1977/78 and recall being in charge of replenishing the sugar stocks everytime we had a rush of desperate housewives and stampeding pensioners!

Julie McNeil responds to this post:

Wow - I emigrated to Australia in Jan 1978 age 14 - You are right about us thinking about the war though I was surprised that rations didn't end until 1952?



I vaguely remember the 1972? blackouts, petrol rations, queues for bread. no tv, candles to light me to bed, it was cosy.


Are you getting your bread and butter in the big freeze of 2010?

3 comments:

  1. Wow - I emigrated to Australia in Jan 1978 age 14 - You are right about us thinking about the war though I was surprised that rations didn't end until 1952?
    I vaguely remember the 1972? blackouts,petrol rations, queues for bread. No tv, candles to light me to bed,it was cosy.
    Are you getting your bread and butter in the big freeze of 2010?

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  2. I do recall the bread shortage of the last 1970s but don't recall it being rationed. Incidentally, you mention the name of Millington, there is a one name study of the name registered with the Guild of one name studies. Happy 2011!

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  3. Thanks for your comment. I wonder if it was just certain local shops that rationed - you know how people often panic in these situations?

    Thanks I know of the Millington one name study - it has been an extremely useful resource and I advise anyone doing family research to check if their name is registered with the Guild.

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