Imperial War Museum North will hold an event to educate Salford citizens on the hardships of rationing in their “Wartime Mealtimes” event next weekend.
The event will run on Saturday 4th December and Sunday 5th December from 10am – 3pm. Entry to the museum is free and families are invited to come and learn about rationing throughout the ages with a focus on recipes from WW2.
Residents of Salford will be able to hear first-hand accounts of rationing from veterans, eyewitnesses, and storytellers as they recall how the war was won on the “kitchen front”.
When contacted about the event, an IWM North spokesperson said: “There will be a range of activities on offer.
“Visitors will get to step back in time for a wartime Christmas, join a factory worker in her 1940s home, discover what it takes to host a family Christmas with the pressures of war and pull together to put up decorations, prepare dinner and keep spirits high with songs and parlour games.”
Visitors will also sample food made to real wartime recipes by IWM’s very own Chef Tony. Chef Tony will also be doing demonstrations and chatting with visitors about the stories behind the recipes.”
Local people who have eyewitness accounts of the war will be around to speak to visitors about their experience with war and rationing from 10:30am – 3pm on both days of the event.
Recalling her family’s struggles with rationing in WW2, Mrs. Martin, a resident of Salford, told the BBC: “My mother told me about numerous occasions when the air raid sirens went off in the middle of the night and her mother ushered her and her sister and brother into the air-raid shelter.
“Once awake and alert to what was going on, the children became hungry and asked for their breakfast. Their mother told them that, because of rationing, they only had a certain amount of food to last for the day. They all agreed that they would eat then and not bother with breakfast when they got up in the morning.
“They ate and once the all clear siren went, they all went back upstairs to bed. In the morning when they got up, the children asked for their breakfast. Of course, their mother tried to explain that they had eaten it and there was nothing left.
“No matter how many times this happened, the children still asked for their breakfast in the middle of the night, and due to the continuation of rationing there was still no food to be had, and on the occasions that they insisted on eating in the night, they had to go to school hungry.”
(Taken from ‘BBC – WW2 People’s War’ archive: https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/73/a4781973.shtml)
Recalling his experience with rationing, working in Salford, John Bailey told Imperial War Museums: “I went into cabinet making as a young man, which I enjoyed doing.
“But then, unfortunately, the war came along and timber became hard to get hold of.
“We started having to use all sorts of substitute materials, like thick cardboard for the back of cabinets.
“I just couldn’t stand it, so I ended up leaving to find a different job.”
(Taken from the IWM archive: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80022127)
Wartime Mealtimes will be running at IWM North at Salford Quays on December 4th and 5th. The event is free to attend and there is no entry fee for the museum. The event has activities for all ages and is targeted at families.