The Glasgow Herald – Wartime

There might have been a war going on, but as some excerpts from articles in The Glasgow Herald on January 23rd, 1942 show, in amongst the war related news, real life carried on as usual.

Copeland and Lye’s shop on Sauchiehall Street advertised their cafe as a ‘Cheery Meeting Place’ where John McArthur’s Orchestra played daily from 12.30-2pm and then again from 3-5.15pm. (Obviously no muzak in those days.)

Two RAF planes collided mid-air killing seven in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

It was illegal for shopkeepers to offer to wrap customers’ goods in paper unless it was food or the goods were to be delivered.

No sun was recorded in Glasgow for the week ending January 3rd,1942. The rainfall was 1.06 inches, the mean maximum temperature was 43.9F (6.6C) and the mean minimum temperature was 34.3F (1.2C)

Moon over miami

In the three weeks since January 1st, 19 people were killed (by traffic) on Glasgow streets with 239 injured. This was an improvement on the same time period in 1941 when 29 people were killed and 360 injured.

British film star Jessie Matthews, then living and working in New York, was reported out of danger following a serious illness.  She was diagnosed as suffering from nervous exhaustion caused by rehearsing for her new show while continuing with her war-work. Recuperation was expected to last several months.

A teacher of French to Leaving Certificate standard was wanted immediately for a school evacuated to Upper Deeside. Classes were small, the post was resident, there would be no house duty and weekends were free. A retired or married teacher might accept the post as war work.

Miner jpeg

Alexander J McKenzie was presented with a Diploma from the Royal Humane Society. An explosion at the docks threw a man into the River Clyde. Mr McKenzie, at great risk to himself, dived in and brought the man to safety.

Two fifteen year-old girls were killed instantaneously at a factory in Lincolnshire.

Court News from Buckingham Palace.  Lady Katharine Seymour succeeded Lady Delia Peel as Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen.

The ration for margarine was reduced from 5ozs per person weekly to 4ozs.  Butter remained at 2 ozs per person.

One British Pound was worth $4.43Cdn and $4.021US.


Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Six

toadToad-in-the-Hole tonight using one of my precious eggs for the batter. My Mum made the best Toad-in-the-Hole in the world, but sadly I don’t seem to have her knack.  I followed the recipe precisely, used a hot oven and had the fat smoking before I added the batter, but although it tasted fine, it didn’t rise all light and fluffy the way my Mum’s used to. Ah well…I’ll blame it on cooking at altitude – Calgary is 3,400 feet above sea level.

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Anne shared a few of her thoughts about my experiment versus what it was really like to live under rationing.

anne2013How did you feel about rationing? Often quite hungry. I’ve written more at length already (in an earlier blog) about school meals that were often just a pile of mash and a small piece of cheddar of slice of corned beef, with maybe a milk pud to follow. From your blog, I think, you are doing rather better although my memory of points is that we got 20 a month. Potatoes and bread were there to satisfy hunger, but dull fare when there was nothing to spread on them! Later, when I was working for the Daily Record I had the benefit of their canteen for a cooked supper – not brilliant, but food.

I’ve been very fortunate in that I haven’t had any ‘shortages’ during my experiment. Yes, you have – we usually got eggs around Easter time but hardly any for the rest of the year, and then usually on ‘Blue Books only’ – children. Supplies of fresh stuff were still tied very much to the farming year.

Wartime Rations – Day Twenty-Two

Week Four – I’m in the homestretch.

The disadvantage of words like ‘rations’ or ‘diet’ is the assumption it immediately creates of privation and hunger. Rationing in Britain was introduced to prevent both those circumstances. It was essential to the war effort that the civilian population was well fed so they could work in the factories and take on extra duties (eg. Air Raid Wardens) if Britain was going to win the war. And it was so successful that by the end of the war people were consuming approximately 3,000 calories per day!

But – I have to confess – when I weighed myself this morning, I discovered I’ve lost a total of 7 lbs in the 3 weeks I’ve been eating wartime rations! Seven pound weight-loss eating pudding every night and never feeling hungry!

Another confession.  I wobbled on my rations this afternoon. I was out for lunch and had a ham/lettuce/tomato and cucumber sandwich, even though the last three ingredients weren’t available in wartime Scotland in January. Next Monday – I can’t believe I’m saying this! – I’m looking forward to enjoying a tomato, cucumber, red pepper, celery and broccoli salad.  With a fresh orange to finish!

But for tonight, dinner was genuine January wartime rations: homemade vegetable soup, cheese dumplings with coleslaw and brussels sprouts, and apple crumble.


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Anne, my mother and brother moved to Kippen from Glasgow to avoid the bombing and this week she’ll be answering my questions on her experiences as an evacuee.

anne2013When were you evacuated and how long did you stay in Kippen? Shortly after Clydebank*, and I was there for about 2 years 6 months. To begin with I was in the village school for a few months until the ‘Qualifying Exam’ (like the later ’11+’); a nice overstretched headmaster  had to cope with all these extra pupils because Glasgow’s Hyndland School was moved ‘en bloc’ (teachers as well) to the village around Balfron, which was the secondary school centre.

What was the village like? Kippen was isolated on a loop road off the main Glasgow-Stirling road, so it was quiet with no passing traffic. It formed a cross with houses along three of the roads, and there was a stone cross at the centre. No side-roads – the fields began behind the little houses. I was surprised when I went back, out of nostalgia, in the early 1990s to see that little had changed – in fact the only change in the centre was that the Post Office had moved from one side of the main street to the other, and that was all except for a sort row of houses which had been built since I’d last seen it in the 40s.

*Clydebank Blitz – March 13/14 1941

Kippen – A village 20 miles north-west of Glasgow. Scotland.