In September 1940 I was evacuated to Welwyn Garden City.
When war broke out, we had six people living in the house in Tottenham. Three of my five brothers were still living at home. Their joint rations were helped by the fact that my brothers and my father all worked away from home during the day and could get a hot meal at their staff canteens. Apart from allowances for numbers, there were few restrictions on food in canteens or restaurants. Of course, the helpings were fairly well controlled, but one could still get a substantial meal.
In September 1940, I was evacuated with a new school and we were based in Welwyn Garden City. I was billeted with a husband and wife named Smith. The husband worked at the Shredded Wheat factory which dominated the town with its giant silos. Guess what I had for breakfast, Monday to Friday, from September 1940 to Easter 1942. Yes, Shredded Wheat with syrup that came from the same source.
Saturday and Sunday I would be at home in Tottenham where I could have alternative breakfasts depending on what was available. My ration book was, of course, lodged with Mrs. Smith.
In the autumn of 1940, my mother and I went to visit one of my mother’s friends who lived in a country lane by the side of the railway line and close to the local station at Laindon on the Southend Line.
In her garden there were several Victoria plum trees. We went into the garden to find that they were overloaded with ripe plums. Under each of the lateral branches, pieces of 3” x 2” timber were in place under each branch to stop them snapping off. I have never seen such a harvest since.
Back in Tottenham, plums were being sold for one penny (Two fifths of a modern penny) a pound, but the man had such a stock that he was weighing out two pounds for the penny.
Next Chapter: Chapter 15: The Shops of old.