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Monday, November 9, 2009

Wartime Tea Rationing in the UK

I find stories of wartime tea rationing in the UK fascinating.

From Tea & Taste - The Visual Language of Tea
(available for purchase here)

Tea helped to see Britons through war. While tea rationing was not implemented during World War I, it was enforced during World War II. Strict rationing from July 1940 allowed the purchase of only 2 ounces of tea per week per person, a program that continued at various levels until 1952. Tea was still being served and acted as a morale-booster for many during the war and never a drop was wasted as leftoever tea and tea leaves were used to clean. Tea merchants banned together to help in the war effort. Continuing to serve clients, Lyons teahouse made 100 cups of tea to the pound rather than the usual 85. Twinings supplied tea for Red-Cross prisoner-of-war packages, for the Women's Voluntary Service, and for many YMCA wartime canteens. Despite the fact much of London was being bombed, tea was still served. Following the bombing of the Twinings teashop on The Strand, employees had tables set back up within hours to serve tea.

From a letter dated September 16, 1940 by an Air Raid Post worker in London:

The worst thing to be brave about is the tea ration.
Everything else can be managed.

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