In World War 2 many items were unavailable, or rationed and only available with coupons … but I had not realised quite what this meant.
|Princess Elizabeth on|
her wedding day 1947
Food was one thing … and fuel … and clothing – borne out by Princess Elizabeth having to use coupons for her wedding dress … a lot of donations ensued, I’d guess.
But … furniture, soap, paper, razor blades, baby bottles, pots and pans … well these were controlled too – hence the phrase “Controlled Commodities”.
|Living Room Furniture|
New furniture was rationed and issued under the “Domestic Furniture (Control and Manufacture and Supply (No 2)) Order 1942” to newly-weds and anyone whose home had been bombed out.
|Utility Furniture Design|
(1943) continued after the War
- this was made by Heal and
Son in 1947
Life and times were frugal … all items were kept to be re-used, all food was used up (or composted), there were no extras … with the government encouraging food production, making everything for ourselves … toys would be made …
The aspects I most remember, as I was born after the War and rationing, other than sweets, has evaporated from my mists of memory time, are the ones that have come to prominence in later years relating to the Queen’s wedding in 1947 …
|I used to live near here ... so this |
orange box had to go in!
The two royal kneelers, used during the wedding, were covered in rose pink silk, made from orange boxes, due to war time austerity, but controlled commodity date stamped 1946.
|The utility clothing symbol|
Now where did the enticing title of “The Two Cheeses” come in … the same logo was used for Utility Furniture as had been developed for the Utility Clothing Scheme: two capital letter Cs with a two digit year date – referring to “Controlled Commodity 1941” … rapidly becoming known as “The Two Cheeses” …
|It's easy to see here ... how it|
got its name ...
However - ‘The utility symbol … also became recognised as a guarantee of high quality materials and workmanship …’ … even spawning the run of Utility Furniture Catalogues from 1943 – 1952.
There are some wonderful stories that came out during the war tales of British spirit and determination to get by … sadly tales of woe – but that is war.
|Utility bedroom furniture|
Austerity and pulling our belts in is never easy … but the Controlled Commodity symbol did its bit for Britain … including reminding us, through its symbol, that ‘there was food ahead’ …
|I guess I had one of these,|
but never saw it
… with the winding down of rationing after the War, the increasing availability of materials such as aluminium, plywood, various timbers and fabrics … the British public were starting to demand choices other than ‘utility’ – so “The Two Cheeses” disappeared into historical records.
Thank goodness for the range of items and foods we have today – we should remember to count our blessings and be glad we’re not living in the era of “The Two Cheeses”!
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