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Ration Book Britain

As if the bombs weren't enough, wartime Britons faced another fearsome foe: the ration book...

What were once everyday goods, from food and fuel to clothing, became luxuries - especially once supplies from Britain's Empire territories were routinely intercepted by Nazi U-boats. Public information messages urged housewives to get creative with dried eggs and potato peel. Austerity was soul-sapping, and lasted long after the peace was won. But rationing did help foster a sense of 'all in it together' (while creating profitable opportunities for the entrepreneurial 'spiv') and focused minds on managing scarce resources. Make-do-and-mend became second nature, and wartime Brits recycled and salvaged more diligently then even today's eco-conscious citizens.

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Bampton Shows the Way
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Bampton Shows the Way

Government sponsored film194118 mins Location: Bampton

Patriotic tale of a Devon village winning the war with carrot Christmas cake and granny's favourite recipe.

Another Little Drop...
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Another Little Drop...

Advert19422 mins

National Flour at the ready: peppy WWII cookery short sponsored by Vim.

Abcd of Health
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Abcd of Health

Instructional film/TV programme19429 mins

Healthy eating advice goes down easy in this fun public information film.

Wicked Witch (Rinso Advert),
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Wicked Witch (Rinso Advert),

Advert19422 mins

Only a witch would be wicked enough to help Hitler on washing day, warns this fun wartime soap powder ad.

Make-do-and-mend
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Make-do-and-mend

Animation & Artists Moving Image19451 mins

A wartime family look on in amazement as their old clothes offer useful advice on how to make their clothing coupons go further.

Potatoes
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Potatoes

Government sponsored film19406 mins

Austerity Britain reaches for the humble spud in this earnest wartime cookery film.

Rationing in Britain
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Rationing in Britain

Government sponsored film194511 mins

The fundamentals of rationing on Britain’s home front during the Second World War.

When the Pie Was Opened
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When the Pie Was Opened

Government sponsored film19418 mins

Welcome to an obscure but delightful corner of film history where Masterchef, rationing and surrealism meet public information films.

Conjuror
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Conjuror

Government sponsored film19441 mins

A sharply dressed magician uses some sleight of hand to remind the public about the importance of saving fuel at home during the Second World War.

Walk Short Distances
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Walk Short Distances

Government sponsored film19441 mins

A wartime film about ordinary people making small sacrifices, focusing on George, who thoughtlessly uses public transport for his own leisure.

Our Christmas 1941 - Spent at Daisy's and Dolly's
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Our Christmas 1941 - Spent at Daisy's and Dolly's

Amateur film19417 minsSilent

It's the season to eat, drink and be merry in the Tigg household, with feasting and jollity captured in this vivid amateur film.

Bob in the Pound
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Bob in the Pound

Advert19432 minsSilent

Fun-filled singalong savings ad with a dangerously catchy theme tune.

U.S. And Us
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U.S. And Us

Advert19432 mins

An American G.I. learns how to brew a proper English cuppa in this jolly wartime ad for Maypole tea.

Bringing It Home
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Bringing It Home

Documentary194019 mins

Dad explains the reasons for rationing in an engrossing WWII propaganda short commissioned by Cadbury's.

The Port of Cardiff 2
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The Port of Cardiff 2

Promotional194325 minsSilent Location: Whitchurch

Meat and wheat, oranges and eggs (dried), salmon and peaches (tinned) arrive in Cardiff from Brazil, America, Canada and New Zealand to keep war-time’s wolf from the allied door.

Down Our Street
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Down Our Street

Documentary19427 mins

The combined effort of three housewives demonstrates to the audience how everyone pulling together could help to overcome the high stakes of war.

VE Day at Manston Grove and potato planting
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VE Day at Manston Grove and potato planting

Amateur film194516 minsSilent Location: Manston

There's Victory jollity aplenty and a sumptuous banquet, despite rationing, for the children of Manston, Kent. We also see potato-girls in action and a mini-baby boom.

War Rationing Milk
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War Rationing Milk

Public Information Filler1941 minsSilent

Forthright reminder that children's milk rations are for their wellbeing, not the whole family's.

How to Bake
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How to Bake

Government sponsored film19457 mins

The Ministry of Food shows wartime cooks how to "make room for more" and plan the ultimate energy-saving bake off.

VE/VJ Don't Waste Bread
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VE/VJ Don't Waste Bread

Public Information Filler1945 mins

Crumbs! Victory celebrations give way to postwar austerity as shortages leave countries short of dough in more ways than one

Filling the Gap
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Filling the Gap

Animation & Artists Moving Image19425 mins

No time to veg out – there's a war on. Get your vegetables out!

Sketchbook of Fashion (Knights Castile Advert)
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Sketchbook of Fashion (Knights Castile Advert)

Advert19402 mins

The key word in the book of fashion is simplicity

Signs of the Times No.58
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Signs of the Times No.58

Advert19414 mins

A curious blue lake, a wonder tablet, a river boat and a picnic essential - sounds like the beginning of a story!

Mrs. Mopp Asks Why
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Mrs. Mopp Asks Why

Advert19432 mins

In the national Interest - and your own - make clothes last longer!

The Photographs Are Watching
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The Photographs Are Watching

Government sponsored film19442 mins

‘Keep on saving’ – A plea to avoid waste during the Second World War.