Snap Time!: Eating Out
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Snap Time!: Eating Out

Did people eat out in restaurants during WW2?

The local-authorities created controlled restaurants -renamed British Restaurants in January 1942 at the suggestion of the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill- providing cheap meals to supplement the ration.

Restaurants were initially exempt from rationing, but this was resented, as people with more money could supplement their food rations by eating out frequently. The Ministry of Food in May 1942 issued new restrictions on restaurants:


  • Meals were limited to 3 courses; only one component dish could contain fish or game or poultry (but not more than one of these)


  • No meals could be served between 11 pm and 5 am without a special license.


  • The maximum price of a meal was 5 shillings, with extra charges allowed for cabaret shows and luxury hotels.


Some 2000 entirely new wartime establishments called “British Restaurants” were run by local authorities in schools and church halls. They evolved from an emergency system for feeding people who had been blitzed out of their homes. They were open to all but mostly served office and industrial workers. Sausage and mash tended to be the only dish.

Another measure was the greatly increased provision of school meals to help out hard working mothers who were helping out with the war effort.

If you want to enjoy eating out our Caphouse Café is open Wednesday to Sunday and over February half term you can enjoy some authentic miner’s snap including pies, butties and a rhubarb treat for afters.


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