The end of UK ra­tioning 65 years ago

Sunday Sun - - News - By Dave Mor­ton Re­porter david.mor­ton.ed­i­to­[email protected]­i­tymir­

THE queues and scarci­ties of post-war ra­tioning fi­nally came to an end 65 years ago.

On July 4, 1954, shop­pers said good rid­dance to food ra­tioning in the United King­dom, a full nine years af­ter the end of World War II, which had brought the prac­tice into be­ing.

In­evitably there were some ini­tial prob­lems. Meat prices rose 40% overnight, but the house­wives of the North East, tough­ened by years of war and aus­ter­ity, were hav­ing none of it.

“Women will boy­cott high prices for meat”, de­clared one story in our sis­ter paper, the Evening Chron­i­cle.

But things would soon set­tle down in bombed-out Bri­tain as the coun­try grad­u­ally re­cov­ered to en­joy a pe­riod of rel­a­tive peace and pros­per­ity for the rest of the decade – and be­yond.

Our pho­tos from the Sun­day Sun archive give a taste of life around our re­gion in 1954. We see day-trip­pers and hol­i­day­mak­ers at Whit­ley Bay and Sea­houses.

We see ship­build­ing still go­ing strong on the Rivers Tyne and Wear as the in­dus­try en­joyed a post-war boom.

And we see folk de­ter­mined to en­joy their leisure time, whether it be chil­dren watch­ing the Satur­day morn­ing mati­nee at the Ma­jes­tic Cin­ema in Ben­well, or the 48,000 crowd which saw New­cas­tle United beat Burn­ley 1-0 in the FA Cup 4th round at a snowy St James’ Park.

(The Mag­pies wouldn’t lift the tro­phy this year, how­ever, and would have to be con­tent with Wem­b­ley tri­umphs in 1951, 1952 and 1955. It would be a largely glo­ri­ous decade).

Else­where in 1954, it was the year of Roger Ban­nis­ter’s sub four-minute mile; JRR Tolkien’s fan­tasy novel The Lord Of The Rings was pub­lished; and Prime Min­is­ter Win­ston Churchill reached the grand old age of 80 while in of­fice.

In pop mu­sic, rock’n’roll was set to ex­plode into life as Bill Ha­ley and the Comets re­leased the sem­i­nal Rock Around The Clock, and a young Elvis Pres­ley set out on the road to su­per­star­dom. Pop­u­lar films in­cluded Seven Brides for Seven Broth­ers, On the Water­front, and 20,000 Leagues Un­der the Sea.

And at a time when there was only one tele­vi­sion chan­nel and not ev­ery home had a TV set, those who did en­joyed the likes of Panorama, The Good Old Days, the Flower Pot Men, and Andy Pandy.

Happy days!

■ Hol­i­day­mak­ers watch fish­ing boats un­load their catch at Sea­houses har­bour, Northum­ber­land, 1954

■ Knock­ing off work are the ship­yard work­ers of the River Wear, Sun­der­land, April 1954

■ Above, “three chil­dren liv­ing in the poor quar­ter of New­cas­tle”, Pic­ture Post, May 1954 (Getty Im­ages); left, the Cas­tle Keep in New­cas­tle. Jan­uary 1, 1954

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