Remaining British Restaurant buildings

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by CL1, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    How was the food? I mean, you hear of something called a "British restaurant" and you do wonder...
     
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  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Meat was the main shortage here. There was a huge black market for it.
     
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  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

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  4. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member Patron

    Yes there’s always a black market in the making in desperate and trying times everywhere. Maybe that’s a good topic for a thread in the Homefront forums eh? That and how cheesy politicians and others sought to circumvent rationing for their own benefit maybe?
     
  5. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    You are hitting on part of the answer to the one big question American's ask which is why did Britain reject Churchill in 1945 and elect a left wing Socialist government?
    The pressure of the war forced the government to become involved in huge areas of peoples lives. The population was a national resource mobilised for the war effort. Those in need could not be left to charity or on their own. Those bombed out of their houses needed to be housed, fed watered and provided with clothing. The injured were treated without regard for doctors bills. Damaged houses were repaired at a highly subsidised cost or free of charge. Wartime Britain was a command economy with resources directed towards military needs. Men and childless women were conscripted for military service or war work. You could not change your job without government permission. Wartime Britain was already half way towards a socialist state.
     
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  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Although to be fair the British will moan about anything and change like the wind
    You tell them they have won 1 million pounds and will complain if you give them a cheque instead of cash
     
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  7. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    Remember too that people were working long hours sometimes a day job and another one in the Home Guard as in Dads Army.With many women in war work, the effort of queuing for food and preparing meals , cooking etc. took up valuable time so a reasonably priced meal from a restaurant helped make life bearable.
     
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  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    They were also used for other business

    BRITISH RESTAURANTS. Resolved : 152. That the following applications for the hire of British Restaurants be granted :— British Applicant. Restaurant. Dates. Purpose. Charge. Harrow Labour No. 2 1st June, 1942 Meeting Scale Party (South No. 2 Stanmore Ward)
    " C " Platoon No. 2 13th and 27th Whist Drives Scale No. 6 Company June, 1942
    No. 2 Home Guard Aerodrome No. 2 2nd, 9th, 16th, Whist Drives Scale Householders' 23rd and 30th June
    https://www2.harrow.gov.uk/Data/Council/19420718/Minutes/004_Emergency Committee_29 May 1942.pdf
     
  9. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member Patron

    That’s universal and not specific to Britain!
     
  10. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member Patron

    I always thought it was a bit much to run Churchill out of office during the Potsdam Conference like they did. That really gave Stalin the edge at the negotiating table with new replacements in for the US and the UK.
     
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    People are not always aware that Churchill as a leader of a coalition of all parties. Although the Conservatives (right wing) had a majority in the House of Commons, the (Socialist) Labour Party played a big part in the war effort.

    It was the support of the Labour party that led to Churchill as the leader of the national government. That was airbrushed out of the "Darkest Hour" film. Conservatives dominated the management of external affairs. Churchill was Prime Minister and Defence Minister. His foreign secretary was Halifax then Eden. The leader of the Labour Clement Atlee combined the roles of deputy PM and Leader of the Opposition, and chaired many of the key meetings in Churchill's absence. (According to Brooke, Atlee was a good committee chairman and business was conducted quickly and efficiently)

    The home affairs portfolio was largely run by Labour politicians. Labour's Herbert Morrison was the Home Secretary (Policing, Justice Civil Defence). Ernest Bevin (Head of the TUC - equivalent of the AFL -CIO) was Minister for Labour. The minister for Pensions was Ellen Wilkinson and left wing MP who had led the Jarrow Hunger March. Many of the decisions that affected people's lives were being made by Labour politicians, whose names would have been familiar to them. Ministers were also brought in from outside the party system. Canadian media mogul Max Aitkin, Lord Beaverbrook ran aircraft supply. The air minister, Archibald Sinclair was a Liberal and John Anderson an independent civil servant had several ministerial roles.

    In American terms this might be the equivalent of a Republican President forming a Cabinet from Democrats. GW Bush as President with Hillary Clinton in charge of Health, Barack Obama running homeland security and Bernie Saunders running social care.

    There was a debate throughout the war about what were Britain's war aims. What were Britons fighting for. Churchill wanted to return to the status quo of 1939. The left wanted to use this as an opportunity to create a better world where hunger marches and the workhouse were things of the past and where there was better education and health services. The older generation remembered the promises of a "Land Fit For Heroes. The Berveridge report published in 1942 was a blueprint for "cradle to the grave" support. 1942 Beveridge Report - UK Parliament
    The 1945 election was about this sort of thing.

    I don't think Stalin benefited from a Labour victory. Atlee's government was committed to the UN, joined NATO and took part in the Korean War. There was no love lost between the British Labour Party and assorted Communists, Marxists, Trots and Stalinists. One fight on the left of British politics has been between the extreme left attempting to infiltrate and take over the Labour party and the centre left exposing and expelling "entryists."
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
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  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Wartime Restaurant Menu
    [​IMG]


    Experiences of British Restaurants, 1940s WW2
    I didnt realise tokens were involved - almost seems futuristic for the time
    British Restaurant tokens
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Example of British Restaurant tokens, courtesy of Malcolm Johnson. He reports that the top ones appear to be of a more brittle type of plastic than the others and are 3mm thick whereas the others are 2mm thick, There are more and larger examples on his Tokens website.


    TD

    Theres a mention above of spotted dick and custard - absolute yum


    Some examples
    The Wartime Kitchen and British Restaurants: Day Four - Black Pudding Hot-Pot Recipe
     
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  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just been checking that menu and I wonder what happened if

    You were vegan
    You were vegetarian
    Had nut allergies
    Had gluten allergies
    Had high chloresterol
    etc

    Is it therefore a sign of modern times that many of the allergies etc have only been discovered recently or diagnosed recently

    TD
     
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    The menu from Woolworth's canteen in Blackpool does not fully reflect the recipes offered. One of the most (in) famous dishes was Woolton Pie - a vegetarian dish
    [​IMG] There was usually plenty left....

    "Pork" Sausages might include a lot of soya beans - canned soya links were the norm in wartime military rations.

    There were vegetarians. Mohinder Gandhi was on the committee of the Vegetarian society when he studied in London at the end of the C19th.

    Food under rationing had much less fat and meat and a lot more vegetables. It was a healthier diet than before or in many cases since. Many of the foodstuffs offered in wartime were the sorts of things recommended as part of a healthy diet. All grain bread - nuts - lots of veg. The much hated tinned Snoek is an oily fish that will do much the same as statins.
     
  15. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    My mother had vegetarian rations in the war because you got much more cheese, and shared it with her parents ordinary rations, so they got the best of all words. Not sure vegans were catered for.Most people were for meat and two veg.
     
  16. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    A serious subject, but I am minded of a Regimental cook, known to everyone bar the RSM as ‘Jack.’ The RSM lightly called him ‘Salt’n’lard’, these being the two core ingredients he was attributed as taking, if ever seen on Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook. Jack’s Service Number began 222... a real rarity and what a stalwart. Anon, the RSM informed Jack that a lady visitor was vegetarian. We wondered how he would respond. The solution was a compo steak and kidney pudding (always called Babies’ Heads) with the issue inners removed and replaced with processed peas. It was duly relished and there was no complaint.

    Of serious note, schoolchildren in Hull have today commemorated the Blitz and the consequences on those involved at the time:
    Hull blitz: Children's WW2 letters read out for 80th anniversary
    remembered by reading some of the poignant descriptions penned by youngsters affected. Family and community would have stepped up to the plate, but the statistics and actuality really underwrite why British Restaurants came to serve an essential purpose.

    Usually referred to as ‘a North East town’ in British media - somewhat resented a bit, locally - the German propaganda machine always clearly stated Hull in its output.
     
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    But what of British Restaurants? These are mentioned in Dorothy’s diary for June 1944, which was the month that Doodlebug attacks began on London. These were of course the notorious V1 flying bombs. Dorothy talks of a “terrific noise” being caused by these attacks, as Doodlebugs fell on Merton Road (South Harrow), Northwood Hills, and then on 30th June a direct hit on the British Restaurant at North Harrow, in which the manageress (apparently the only person in the restaurant at the time) was unfortunately killed. British Restaurants were designed to provide cheap basic meals as a supplement to rations and to aid those who had been bombed out of their houses. The service was organised by the London County Council (the forerunner of today’s London Assembly) to begin with, but soon developed into a chain of restaurants across London. In one of these restaurants you could buy a main course of meat or fish and two veg for between 6d and 8d, a sweet (i.e. dessert) for 3d, a cup of tea for 1d, and a cup of coffee for 2d. There were six British Restaurants in Harrow, serving a total of 25,000 meals a week. They were apparently disbanded in 1947 though Dorothy’s diary records her going to a “B. Rest party” as late as January 1948 (at which, incidentally, she complains that there were not enough men).
    War Time Harrow – Diaries from the Collection


    CIVILIAN EDITH MAY FOX
    Regiment & Unit/Ship
    Civilian War Dead

    Date of Death
    Died 30 June 1944

    Age 50 years old

    Buried or commemorated at
    HARROW, URBAN DISTRICT



    Civilian War Dead


    • Country of Service United Kingdom
    • Additional Info of 53 Cumberland Road, North Harrow. Wife of Frederick Frank Alec Fox. Died at 53 Cumberland Road.
     
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