Food shortages during 1917/18

Extracts from Viscount Beaumont's School Log

We worry about heating now and about the price and availability of our favourite foods for holiday feasting, but things were pretty bad in 1917 during the Great War. Harold M Cuthbert, head teacher of Viscount Beaumont's School, wrote in the School Log Book:

"November 16th: Children dismissed at 3.45 owing to darkness."

"November 30th: Attendance poor. A number of children kept away either to mind the house and younger children or to go to Coalvillle or Ashby to procure food, very little being available in the village and one of the shops having closed." (Presumably their mothers would have to walk there and back.)

"December 10th: Furnace out and coal not being procurable although ordered Thursday previous."
*December 11th: Coal sent."

"December 21st: Attendance poor owing to queues at Coalville."

In early 1918 Mr Cuthbert writes:

"February 15th: A number of children away owing to parents going to Coalville for food."
"March 8th: Several children away owing to food problem."

"March 15th Similar difficulty this week."

Britain introduced food rationing in London early in 1918 and extended it nationwide by the summer. On March 27th Mr Cuthbert writes:

"School closed to enable teachers to take Ration Cards round the district."

Published in Coleorton Heritage Group newsletter December 2022.

Sandra Dillon