July 4th 65 Years Ago Food Rationing Ended

Picture of ration books

On July 4th 1954: came the end of rationing a time to celebrate and enjoy a more varied diet.  

Meat including bacon stopped being restricted on this day.

A special ceremony was held to mark this occasion in Trafalgar Square. The Minister of Fuel and Power, Geoffrey Lloyd, set fire to a large replica ration book.

For the first time Smithfield Market in London opened up at midnight and meat sellers were inundated with customers. To start with prices were very high until the supply and demand calmed down.

Food rationing had begun on 8 January 1940, four months after the outbreak of war and continued far longer than was expected.  

What is a typical weekly food ration for an adult?

Ingredients Quantity
Bacon & Ham          4 oz
Other meat             value of 1 shilling and 2 pence (equivalent to 2 chops)
Butter   2 oz
Cheese   2 oz
Margarine  4 oz
Cooking fat             4 oz
Milk   3 pints
Sugar  8 oz
Preserves 1 lb every 2 months
Tea    2 oz
Eggs  1 fresh egg (plus allowance of dried egg)
Sweets 12 oz every 4 weeks

Clothes coupons were also introduced, and the black market became a way of life with many trying to get hold of sort after items. Special exceptions were made for women who were pregnant they were allowed extra rations and breast feeding mothers were given extra milk, the armed forces and land girls as well as underground workers were all also allowed extra supplies.

The Ministry of Food created recipe books to enable everyone to do the best they could with limited resources. Here is what the Ministry say about potatoes. “There is no vegetable more useful than the homely potato. They contain the same vitamins as oranges and ½ lbs of potatoes daily will give you over half the amount of this vitamin needed to prevent fatigue and help fight infection. The Ministry devised characters such as Potato Pete and Dr Carrot to put their message across.


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