There were a lot of shortages of essential foodstuffs, not just luxuries. Ration books were issued to each person over five years old containing tokens which could be saved up or used at the owner’s discretion. The shopkeeper would remove the tokens before he issued the goods. There were different coloured ration books. The buff coloured books were issued to adults and schoolage children. Green books were issued to expectant mothers, as they had extra needs. The tokens had no monetary value, but they were a means of ensuring that everybody got their fair share of what was available. The tokens were for food, and later for clothing. It was on 8 January 1940 that Food Rationing was introduced.
At the beginning, the following amounts were available for each person per week:
Butter or lard - 4ozs [113.4 grams]Sugar - 12ozs [340.2 grams]Raw bacon or ham - 4ozs [113.4 grams]Eggs - 2Cooked bacon or ham -3.5ozs [99.3 grams]
Meat rationing started on 11th March 1940. As the war continued, bread became in short supply. Queues would form outside shops very early in the morning because even if people had coupons, the shops did not always have enough bread for everyone. Rumours would start that a shop was getting a supply of butter or meat and immediately a queue would form outside the shop. Many a shop opened for only two or three days a week because of food shortages.