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Museum Society meeting: Make-do and mend: Lecture/meeting. Sample containing about 6742 words speech recorded in public context

27 speakers recorded by respondent number C1

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1 recordings

  1. Tape 007901 recorded on 1991-09-04. LocationEssex: harlow () Activity: Lecture/meeting Club Talk

Undivided text

(D8YPS000) [1] Introduce Brenda who's going to speak to us on Make do and Mend and she's asked me to say that she'd be very pleased if people break in or erm sort of form some sort of dialogue with her as she goes along.
[2] If they've got anything that they wish to say or any personal reminiscences.
[3] So don't be afraid to interrupt her.
[4] And erm I'd also like to introduce Keith Mardell [laugh] from the Longman spoken corpus who's going to be recording our meeting.
[5] erm and if you this is for the Longman spokus spoken corpus project.
[6] And he will if you'd like to come along and speak to him individually afterwards he will tell you something about that.
[7] Right so I'd like to introduce Brenda, [cough] ladies and gentleman.
[8] And er she's [crashing] Oh sorry.
(D8YPS001) [9] Sorry, I thought I'd [...] disturb [...] [laugh]
(D8YPS000) [10] Anyway Brenda [...]
(D8YPS002) [11] Yes, sure.
[12] And I'm going to talk about, and make do and mend in the [banging] second world war.
[13] erm and as you'll be able to see from my introduction make do and mend wasn't something that suddenly happened in nineteen thirty nine there were sections of society in which make do and mend was a permanent and not not particularly erm welcome fact of life.
[14] [reading] Although the period between nineteen thirty nine and forty five seems to me and people of my generation to have been only yesterday.
[15] We are actually talking of events which happened over half a century ago. []
[16] Doesn't it make us feel terribly old when we think of that.
[17] [reading] We tend to think nostalgically of John Betjeman's pre-war metroland of happy suburban families, of rosy cheeked farmer's wives with a plentiful supply of freshly baked bread, new laid eggs, strawberry jam and clotted cream.
[18] ... Of the comfortable paternalism of large estates providing long and useful employment for their servants.
[19] ... And an industrious and thrifty working working class supporting and supported by an extended family network.
[20] It was in fact a time when even just prior to the war many families had neither gas nor electricity to heat and light their homes, or basic public services such as running water for drinking and other purposes.
[21] There was in many urban and rural areas extreme poverty due to unemployment, bad working conditions, poor housing, inadequate diet, and chronic ill health.
[22] And for many people, make do and mend was always a harsh reality. []
[23] Well if you remember that the Jarrow marches and the general strike weren't very many years erm you know be behind the preparations that were going on for the second world war.
[24] [reading] Even in the more affluent homes, labour saving devices we take for granted today either didn't exist or were an expensive luxury.
[25] Routine household chores like washing cleaning cooking sewing and mending were often done by women and girls employed as resident domestic servants.
[26] Or outworkers who were expected to know how to perform them to very exacting standards for very low wages. []
[27] In in in my own family my mum and my aunt went into service you know when they were about thirteen and they used to do the most abysmal jobs for next to nothing.
(D8YPS003) [28] We used we used to have someone who we used to know who'd been in one of the big houses.
[29] And erm she you know she found it and she really enjoyed it.
(D8YPS002) [30] Yeah.
(D8YPS003) [31] Because I think she probably depended what sort of house household you were in.
(D8YPS002) [32] Yeah.
(D8YPS003) [33] And what I, from what I gather the bigger the household that people were in the more they enjoyed it cos the jobs were shared out more.
[34] But often the- when they were in small houses where they had to do everything, erm they tended to find that they were they were expected to sort of skivvy much more.
(D8YPS002) [35] Well I I was in the east end and of course where my mum and my aunt worked it was mostly sort of cleaning and scrubbing and charring and turning mangles in the back garden and all sorts of things.
(D8YPS003) [36] Mhm.
(D8YPS002) [37] [reading] War was officially declared on the third of September nineteen thirty nine, although preparations for it had begun as earlem
(D8YPS004) [38] I worked for a photographic company
(D8YPS002) [39] Yes?
(D8YPS004) [40] at that time and erm, we had a lot of German shutters and cameras in [...] museum before September the third on September the fourth when I got to work they were all out.
(D8YPS002) [41] You had to put them all away!
(D8YPS004) [42] They were all being no they were all being taken apart
(D8YPS002) [43] Oh!
(D8YPS004) [44] and studied and er so that we could copy their
(D8YPS002) [45] Oh I see
(D8YPS004) [46] their [...] which of course had er ceased to exist.
(D8YPS002) [47] [reading] In the shops things were much as usual because wholesalers and suppliers were still using existing stocks.
[48] To the majority of women, the fact that the famous Parisian fashion houses had closed, that silk stockings and imported luxury goods were more expensive and more difficult to obtain meant very little.
[49] The major impact was the break up of the family unit.
[50] Apart from worry about the safety of their nearest and dearest, what concerned them most was was that with the main breadwinner away, children still had to be fed and clothed and household expenses met.
[51] Worry was considered by Woman's magazine to be the main cause of an unattractive appearance.
[52] And in November nineteen thirty nine the editor wrote, anxiety is a dreadful ravager of loveliness.
[53] No man wants to come home from the war to a wife or sweetheart who shows in her face how much she has worried about him.
[54] Wash away traces of tears with warm weak tea.
[55] [laugh] A secret which saw our mothers through many a crisis. []
[56] Well erm this anxiety neurosis erm dominated much of the printed material in women's magazines.
[57] erm, you can see in these particularly you can look at them later on.
[58] [reading] No off days now, now she must carry on.
[59] erm winning the war of freedom, winning the war with freedom, nervous strain wore out, worn out with war worry [] .
[60] So th- people were most concerned that women's morale should be kept up and that one should shouldn't worry too much.
[61] And there were and erm I hope this isn't too embarrassing for the male members of the audience.
[62] erm lots of advertisements produced by Tampax, erm about worry and off days and this was because during that time menstruation was one of these taboo subjects that people didn't talk about.
[63] And many women actually did take to their beds when they were menstruating and erm sort of retired from active life and this wasn't possible then because so many women had been called up you know and they had had to be in the army or they had to work in factories and it wasn't possible for them to be absent.
[64] And so there was this sort of propaganda campaign that was done through advertising to insist that women shouldn't have off days any more.
[65] And erm Tampax were involved for another reason which I will explain later.
[66] erm the advertisements themselves called a great caused a great furore because erm Tampax was a fairly new invention and because of the sexual and social mores of the time they weren't considered very nice.
[67] And erm so that the campaign was working on two levels one to persuade women that they didn't have to take time off from working in factories, at certain times of the month and another to persuade women to use erm internal sanitary protection and as I said I will explain why later it comes into another section.
[68] ... [reading] By the first months of nineteen forty one, there were ten thousand women in the armed services.
[69] And all single or childless women between twenty and thirty were liable to be directed to essential war work of some kind [] as we can see here erm com coming to the factories erm there's a woman there driving a tank another one on er a gu a gun sight.
[70] erm some in the armed forces, working in factories A R P.
[71] So I don't know if any of you are old enough to have worked in factories or have been in any in the services?
(D8YPS005) [72] Well I was an A R P warden during the war.
[73] At the age of sixteen, cos there was hardly anybody else at the place where I lived so it went down to sixteen year olds.
(D8YPS002) [74] Yes.
(D8YPS006) [75] And my sister in law who erm my eldest brother was a lot older than me.
[76] I was six when the war started.
[77] And she actually took me on this war work.
[78] And and took me away.
(D8YPS002) [79] Yes?
(D8YPS006) [80] And erm ... that was considered.
(D8YPS002) [81] Yes if you looked after a child.
(D8YPS006) [82] Yes a child.
(D8YPS002) [83] Yes.
(D8YPS006) [84] And then when she came back and I was returned she actually went into a factory then.
(D8YPS002) [85] Yes.
(D8YPS006) [86] But she was a dressmaker by profession.
[87] Er but then she worked went to work in a munitions factory in Kilburn and she had a marvellous time. [laugh]
(D8YPS002) [88] [reading] By the end of nineteen forty two, nearly three million married women or widows were so employed.
[89] Looking cheerful and attractive was no longer a domestic issue but a matter of vital national importance.
[90] It was a duty and [] I just have to take this one down.
[91] You'll have to excuse this ... picking up and putting down of, papers.
[92] ... Here we see an advertisement for Eyesilmar make up.
[93] [reading] Beauty is your duty, No Surrender [] by Yardley.
[94] ... erm [reading] figure precautions [] by Berlei, manufacturers of corsets.
[95] And erm [reading] fire-fighting but her manicure is perfect [] [laugh] [reading] Home front hands can still be charming, tangee lipstick for beauty on duty ... Now foundation garments were considered to be an essential part of the trim active image which it was every woman's duty to project [] .
[96] So you mustn't, not only mustn't you worry you've got to be perfectly made up and have a super figure you know while you're making tanks or or whatever.
[97] erm A Berlei bulletin and I've got a this is one of the Berlei di
(D8YPS007) [98] Don't you think that a lot of the advertisements are just like advertising today, wanting to sell the garments
(D8YPS002) [99] Yes.
(D8YPS007) [100] rather I don't think the advertising industry had such a strong sense of duty but I assume [...]
(D8YPS002) [101] Oh no, no, they were
(D8YPS007) [102] They just wanted to sell their stuff
(D8YPS002) [103] Yes.
(D8YPS007) [104] I think.
(D8YPS002) [105] But also of course there was this propaganda from from the government you know that erm they'd just got to keep up morale and this was one one way as you will see in a minute of how they did it.
[106] [reading] Even the government realized the importance of cosmetics in keeping up morale amongst women workers.
[107] Propaganda posters instructed them to, put your best face forward.
[108] And in August nineteen forty two the Ministry of Supply issued Royal Ordnance factory workers a special supply of high grade make up, and a booklet entitled Look to your Looks.
[109] Women's magazines were full of ideas on how to make the best of one's appearance in spite of the meagre supplies of make up available in the shops.
[110] Woman's Own, March the seventh nineteen forty wrote, do remember that when he in capital letters, comes back, he will want to kiss the hands that have worked for him and all our brave men.
[111] It will be easy enough to bleach them with some Milk of Magnesia the night before he comes home.
[112] [laugh] ... Lipstick stubs were mixed with oil or cream to extend their life or to make creme rouge.
[113] Black boot polish was used instead of mascara, Sore eyes and tired skin refreshed with cucumber skins and of course plenty of raw fruit and vegetables for inner cleanliness [] .
[114] Once they'd done with our, figures and our faces then we'd got to look for our innards and so we had had to have inner cleanliness.
[115] [reading] In nineteen forty one the use of silk stockings was banned, and by nineteen forty two all hosiery was rationed to members of the public.
[116] Advise was given on how to colour the legs with substances such as cold tea, coffee, gravy browning, cocoa powder etcetera with the seams drawn in with pencil, crayon or burnt wood or cork [] .
[117] I remember having to do that for my mum.
[118] She stood on a chair and I used to have to draw the lines round the back of her legs with a pencil.
[119] And there's an advertisement here for Cyclax stocking cream for people who could afford it.
[120] There it is in a beautiful presentation box.
[121] ... [reading] As the war progressed beauty products became virtually unobtainable and a healthy mind and body were considered to be more of an asset to the war office, to the war effort, than a pretty face and soft skin.
[122] Women and Beauty in April nineteen forty three wrote -there is a special kind of beauty preparation that can't be bought in a single shop in the world because you must make it yourself from spirit, heart and simple courage and you make it fresh each day.
[123] War time health propaganda from the Ministry of Food told women through an article in Woman's Own nineteen forty one, you've got to look lovely for his leave.
[124] Do eat for beauty.
[125] Liver is your meat.
[126] It isn't rationed either [] .
[127] Oh now we come to some ... advertisements about food.
[128] ... erm somebody's got some books here that er ... we can look at.
[129] We were we were instructed to dig for victory and so we've got er erm a gardening guide ... And a book that I've also got called We'll eat Again which is full of war time recipes.
[130] And you might like to look at these later, these later.
[131] And erm some immediately post-war recipe books and I'm sure you know if you'd like to look at them after I've finished talking you might even remember some of the er ... the er
(D8YPS008) [132] My wife still uses the [...] [laugh] .
(D8YPS002) [133] So, so do I! [laugh]
(D8YPS008) [134] You referred to the fact of erm, er items that weren't on the, on the rations such as liver.
(D8YPS002) [135] Yes?
(D8YPS008) [136] Of course you had to get them.
(D8YPS002) [137] Yes of course.
(D8YPS008) [138] And we had a during the periods you mentioned we had er lived in a village, and we had a very very honest er grocer.
[139] Who one day we thought well about time we had something so I think we said to him er about these things off the ration can't can't get, what happens to them?
[140] Well we have them he said [laugh] [...] .
[141] And I think that that shows that er you know the distribution of er non rationed food was not quite what
(D8YPS009) [142] Well it was the black market as well wasn't there?
(D8YPS002) [143] Yes.
(D8YPS00A) [144] I was going to say there was a flourishing black market wasn't [...]
(D8YPS002) [145] Yes.
(D8YPS008) [146] Yes.
(D8YPS009) [147] Yes I I can remember as a child my grandmother's erm, family all lived in the east end and I can remember that the you know on the occasions that they used to come down and see us there was always tins of fruit and all sorts of
(D8YPS002) [148] Yeah
(D8YPS009) [149] goodies that they'd got because they all worked in the docks!
[150] [laugh] . We used to look forward to them coming.
(D8YPS002) [151] Fell off a crate did it?
(D8YPS00B) [152] Certainly all over rural Essex everybody was killing pigs and everything surreptitiously.
(D8YPS002) [153] Yeah well you were you were allowed actually later on to
(D8YPS00B) [154] [...] you could kill a pig if you kept, you kept half of it and gave [...]
(D8YPS002) [155] That's right, yes.
(D8YPS00B) [156] for your own consumption but there was a lot of people doing it as, as erm illicitly.
(D8YPS002) [157] Illicitly .
[158] Yeah.
(D8YPS00B) [...]
(D8YPS002) [159] Well food rationing began in January nineteen forty and I'm sure you're all familiar with with ration books.
[160] I'll pass them round.
[161] You can give them back to me
(D8YPS00C) [162] I've got one nineteen eighteen.
(D8YPS002) [163] Oh, ooh. [laugh] [...]
(D8YPS002) [164] Er you can give them back to me afterwards.
[165] ... Have you ever seen a ration book?
(D8YPS00D) [166] No ...
(D8YPS00E) [167] Did they have blue ones for children?
(D8YPS00F) [168] Yes.
(D8YPS00E) [169] Or green
(D8YPS002) [170] Can't can't remember what colour mine was.
[171] I don't think I ever saw it. [...] ...
(D8YPS002) [172] [reading] Well by nineteen forty two rationing had been extended to include most foodstuffs except fresh fruit and vegetables.
[173] Rationing or quota systems were later to extend to include soap and soap products, fuel, clothing, and most dress and furnishing fabric.
[174] Furniture and bedding was supplied on a docket application system.
[175] Nineteen forty one was the poorest year for food production.
[176] The nation could no longer support the expense of feeding livestock.
[177] And farmers had to grow more cereal and vegetable crops.
[178] Everyone who had even the tiniest piece of spare ground was encouraged to grow salads, vegetables and fruit and to dig for victory.
[179] It was to the Women's Institutes that the government turned to organize communal preservation of home grown produce throughout the land.
[180] This was backed up by articles in magazines and newspapers showing the housewife how to preserve fruit, salt beans, make pickles, chutneys, vinegars and sauces.
[181] Store root vegetables in sand and dry fruits such as apples and pears [] .
[182] I remember my mother having erm pieces of wood with apples rings on that used to be dried in the oven.
[183] [reading] Surplus eggs could be pickled in borax or water glass.
[184] In their December nineteen forty one issue of Home and Country magazine, the Institute reported that two thousand six hundred and fifty preserving centres had been opened.
[185] And over one thousand pounds of fruit had been saved.
[186] And the demand for jam jars had been so great that even salvage dumps and cemeteries had been searched for extra supplies [] .
[187] I can just imagine Women's Institute ladies creeping out in the night to pinch jam jars from from graveyards.
(D8YPS00G) [188] One of the things that was popular was that the smaller things like rabbit clubs when people could then get food for them officially if they did that.
(D8YPS002) [189] Erm Yes
(D8YPS00G) [190] I remember one of my aunts was belonged to one.
[191] And [...] didn't really know anything about rabbits and I know my aunt it's a sort of family story that she took her doe to the buck and the buck had babies.
[192] [laugh] . [...] . That's the sort of thing that the government encouraged. [...]
(D8YPS002) [193] That's right.
[194] Yes, groups, yes.
[195] [reading] Women who made their own preserves were able to obtain extra sugar in lieu of their jam ration.
[196] And those who couldn't obtain fresh fruit substituted vegetables producing carrot marmalade, marrow and ginger jam.
[197] Jellies flavoured with beetroot or mint and parsley honey [] .
[198] We we've got most of those recipes here erm in my book.
[199] [reading] There was even a recipe for lemon curd using vegetable marrow but no eggs or lemons [] .
[200] Goodness know what that tasted like!.
(D8YPS00H) [201] We used to do erm we used to have erm a girl at school, when I was at school in east east London Stepney erm who used to bring mock banana sandwiches and that was made with mashed, parsnip and erm some sort of erm banana essence.
(D8YPS002) [202] Yeah?
(D8YPS00H) [203] And erm ... they tasted I mean we all used to have a taste of it and it tasted quite nice!
(D8YPS002) [204] Well I I
(D8YPS00H) [205] With marge [...]
(D8YPS002) [206] Yes well in in the east end you bananas probably weren't very plentiful and that was the poorer people anyway.
(D8YPS00J) [207] nobody had bananas, first bananas came in about forty five.
(D8YPS00K) [208] Came a long way didn't they?
(D8YPS00J) [209] [...] one of these ships docked isn't it?
[210] Cos one of them brought bananas in.
(D8YPS002) [211] So we have erm recipes here for bottling without sugar.
[212] Oatmeal sausages.
[213] Walton pie, the infamous Walton pie.
[214] erm ... carrot cookies, potato cakes lots of potato recipes.
[215] Eggless sponge, eggless fatless sponge.
[216] ... [reading] The government issued food bulletins in newspapers and magazines and on radio to teach the rudiments of food nutrition [] .
[217] And as, as we said before, erm, many of the, erm people who lived in the poorer parts of erm the country, whether in urban or rural En erm England didn't really know about basic nutrition and and health I mean you just ate what was available but you didn't know why and so the government started this campaign to introduce you know knowledge about diet and how important it was.
[218] [reading] Housent
(D8YPS00L) [219] There was a little poem, I don't know why I remember it but it was, if you have the will to win, cook potatoes in their skin.
[220] For the very sight of peelings deeply hurts Lord Walton's feelings. [laugh] .
(D8YPS002) [221] There's just there's a Potato Pete poem up there somewhere actually.
[222] [reading] Potatoes became the basis of practically every meal.
[223] They were grated, and used to lighten puddings, batters and pastry and potato water thickened soups and stews.
[224] Carrots and saccharin were substituted for sugar.
[225] Posters showing pot-, Potato Pete and his companion Clara Carrot became household icons [] .
[226] erm ... there's there's Potato Pete and there's Clara Carrot, and there's Potato Pete again.
[227] Oh yes here's the song of Potato Pete [reading] potatoes new, potatoes old, potatoes in a salad cold, potatoes baked or mashed or fried, potatoes whole potatoes pied.
[228] Enjoy them all including chips, remembering spuds don't come on ships.
[229] ... Flour for domestic use was home produced and much heavier in texture than that milled from imported Canadian me- wheat which was banned in nineteen forty two.
[230] It needed more liquid, a strong raising agent and longer cooking.
[231] Nevertheless recipes abounded for eggless, sugarless, fatless, fruitless cakes, sweet and savory pastries, puddings and biscuits.
[232] The national loaf was rather an unappetizing grey colour [] I don't know if anybody remember the national loaf.
[233] [reading] And it was coarse textured.
[234] People complained that it crumbled badly and couldn't be cut into thin slices, so Woman's Own recommended that the bread knife should be dipped in boiling water in between cutting each slice.
[235] Unfortunately, a diet high in carbohydrates meant that some women not only put on weight but also stopped wearing their corsets [] .
[236] Which caused a, a lot of trouble, particularly in the Lady magazine.
[237] And Woman's Own.
[238] They were strongly reprimanded by Woman's Own whose editor made the strange assumption that large hips were synonymous with big feet, and she said [reading] the well corsetted woman has a good figure that will last her for life, and feet many times smaller than those of the uncontrolled [] [laugh] .
[239] Well that put you in your place if you ate too many potatoes.
[240] [reading] With America's entry int o the war some foods were imported under the lease lend agreement.
[241] These included soya products, dried haricot beans, baked beans, dried eggs which were very popular and tinned pressed meats of vague origins branded Spam, Prem and Tang [] somebody's grinning there, do you remember those [reading] which could be eaten cold or cooked in various ways [] .
[242] Spam fritters, yes.
[243] And mashed spam and baked bean sandwiches were another favourite.
(D8YPS00M) [244] In our erm canteen at work until quite recently used to do spam fritters.
(D8YPS002) [245] Mhm.
(D8YPS00M) [246] I mean they're not they haven't sort of died out [...]
(D8YPS002) [247] No, no
(D8YPS00M) [248] They were very great favourites at school dinners weren't they?
(D8YPS002) [249] That's right.
[250] [reading] One of their most useful features was the thick layer of pure white fat with which they were coated [] when you took it out of the tin there was this layer of fat round the edge.
[251] [reading] It could be scraped off and used for frying and baking.
[252] And dried egg was very versatile.
[253] One tablespoon full of powder mixed with two of water was the equivalent of one average sized whole egg [] .
[254] Well I've recently seen that they've started selling it in Sainsbury's again.
[255] I haven't I haven't bought it but I've seen it.
[256] I think it was since the salmonella scare some time ago.
[257] [reading] To eke out the small meat ration, people formed pig clubs [] which is what you were talking about.
[258] [reading] They would group together to buy a pig to feed, fatten and slaughter.
[259] They were allowed to keep the head, trotters, offal and a proportion of the meat.
[260] The rest was retained by the Ministry of Food.
[261] Pig bins were provided in each road in urban areas for household waste and these would be collected usually by a pig woman with a horse and cart.
[262] The pig feeding scheme was so successful that even with rationing, the amount of bacon consumed in nineteen forty one was greater than the annual pre-war consumption per head.
[263] It was expensive, however, and a cheaper substitute was available called Macon made from pressed, sliced mutton.
[264] Sea food became scarce as fishing was hazardous and most of the beaches were mined.
[265] Icelandic salt cod was cheap, but transport and storage facilities were so unreliable that it was often rotten by the time it reached the housewife.
[266] Tinned pilchards were only obtainable on the points system.
[267] Some Canadian tinned salmon did reach the shops but it was very expensive.
[268] Fresh salmon and freshwater fish were not rationed but were price fixed and like game and poultry, usually became part of the black economy.
[269] Preparing good nourishing family meals was made even more difficult when in nineteen forty housewives were asked to contribute cooking utensils for the 'saucepans into Spitfire s' campaign.
[270] In nineteen forty three the Board of Trade produced the kettlepan [] .
[271] The kettlepan was erm a sauce- a thing like a saucepan with a a kettle that fitted on to the top so that you could boil your vegetables in the saucepan and boil the kettle at the same time.
[272] The lid the lid of the saucepan became the kettle.
[273] [reading] But resourceful housewives already had a far superior version.
[274] A stew was put to cook in a saucepan, on top of which was a colander where a pudding, wrapped in a cloth, was steamed.
[275] This was covered by a biscuit tin lid on top of which was a kettle filled with water for an after dinner cup of tea and the washing up.
[276] One woman wrote to Woman's Own describing how she fitted her garden sieve, lined with a piece of clean rag, into the top of her copper.
[277] And she was able to steam a complete meal while the washing was boiling.
[278] [laugh] . ... In nineteen forty one on June the first clothes rationing began, and for that year twenty coupons were issued.
[279] The amount of coupons needed for each garment depended on the amount of material and labour involved in its manufacture.
[280] In nineteen forty two the Board of Trade introduced utility clothes, recognized by the symbol cc forty one [] .
[281] Here we are.
[282] ... I'm still using tablecloths with that mark on!
(D8YPS00C) [283] I've still got a raincoat.
(D8YPS002) [284] [laugh] .
[285] Not from the first world war!
(D8YPS00C) [286] No, not from [...]
(D8YPS002) [287] [reading] This trademark nicknamed the two cheeses was an acronym for civil clothes nineteen forty one.
[288] Eight top designers were asked to submit designs for four basic items.
[289] A coat, suit, winter dress and cotton house-dress.
[290] Each garment had to conform to regulations on yardage and use of approved materials.
[291] Restrictions were placed on the number of pleats and buttons on new garments.
[292] The width of seams, the depths of hems.
[293] Decorative attachments were banned, and the utility range was later extended to include clothing for men and children [] .
[294] These are ... two of the utility garments.
[295] This was a sort of a battle, can you see?, a battledress jacket.
[296] ... And a plain skirt and a coat and a siren suit.
[297] ... And um, if you'd like to have a look at this book, Utility Furniture and Fashion, later you can see some more utility clothes.
[298] ... [reading] On the fifth of September nineteen thirty nine a control of timber ordered was made by the Ministry of Supply, followed by controls on all raw materials used by the furniture industry and allied trades.
[299] Furniture manufacturers could only operate under licence to the government and most of their products were designated for the defence of the realm.
[300] By July nineteen forty timber supplies for the home market were withdrawn completely [] .
[301] And that ma of course erm posed problems for people just getting married or setting up home or people who had lost their homes due to bombing.
[302] [reading] After the blitz on London in September nineteen forty, the government introduced a scheme whereby payments for damage to the furniture of persons earning less than four hundred pounds a year would be made, up to one hundred percent of the damage [] .
[303] Four hundred pounds a year then was quite a lot of money.
[304] [reading] The result was an unprecedented demand for second hand furniture, the price of which quickly rose to exorbitant levels on the black market.
[305] By the end of the year the government was forced to change the situation and announced it would produce a range of standard emergency furniture for bombed persons.
[306] Basically it resembled that issued to hospitals, canteens and similar institutions.
[307] Once again women's magazines offered advice.
[308] Shorten the legs of that ugly iron bedstead, hack off the top and bottom rails and send them for salvage [] .
[309] You'd still got to look beautiful and have your corsets on and not look worried while you're doing all this hacking.
[310] [reading] The result will be a low, modern, divan.
[311] And they also said that astonishingly pretty results can be attained with whitewood furniture when painted in pastel colours.
[312] In nineteen forty two, a range of utility furniture was produced comprising twenty two articles in two qualities and three designs, each conforming to predetermined criteria [] .
[313] There are some utility furniture designs up here.
[314] In fact I think you can probably still pick them up in antique shops and second hand shops and probably a lot of people have still got some.
[315] ... [reading] In the beginning priority was given to those setting up home for the first time, families with young children, and people who had lost their homes and furniture through enemy action.
[316] The furniture was well designed and proved very popular.
[317] Other ranges and designs were introduced to cope with even heavier demands and with minor amendments, utility furniture was still being produced at the time of the festival of Britain in nineteen fifty one.
[318] Utility furnishing and upholstery fabrics were also produced to complement the furniture [] .
[319] These are two ... designs I you probably all recognized them when you see them, they were very popular.
[320] ... Can you all see?
[321] ... Yes it was it was a very coarse fabric and if you'd got animals they te it tended to claw.
[322] ... [reading] The designs had to be small to avoid wastage in matching.
[323] And only four colours or combinations of four colours, rust blue green and natural were allowed.
[324] Good Housekeeping gave advice on home decorating.
[325] You must keep to light, plain colours.
[326] Parchment, light blue or green or pale ochre.
[327] Very sound advice because these were the only colours available anyway.
[328] It wasn't possible to buy wallpaper, but very decorative effects were achieved with government issue distemper by using bi-colour techniques of stippling, ragging, combing and stencilling, which are now popular again [] .
(D8YPS00N) [329] I remember curtains erm muslin curtains my mother made.
[330] And she died them pink and she, I can't remember what I think it was some sort of, erm cooking net that she bought.
[331] It wasn't real muslin but she made it out of this material.
[332] And she made a frill and she died them pink. [...]
(D8YPS002) [333] Possibly it was the erm the muslin that that
(D8YPS00N) [...]
(D8YPS002) [334] cows and things came in to the butchers.
(D8YPS00N) [335] Yes, yes, I think it was.
(D8YPS002) [336] Sort of long tubular bits.
(D8YPS00N) [337] Yes.
(D8YPS00C) [338] One of the snags with the colours you mentioned, er was it red, er blue and green or reddish colour?
(D8YPS002) [339] Yes, rusty red.
(D8YPS00C) [340] Yeah, rusty red.
[341] What happened was that I mean you made curtains er the rusty red was affected by light, so eventually you got a curtain where where the red spots had been there were holes.
[342] Remember that.
(D8YPS002) [343] Was that, was that so?
(D8YPS00C) [344] Yes.
(D8YPS002) [345] It affected the fabric, I didn't know that.
(D8YPS00C) [346] Yes, the red colour was always er and er this, so that the curtain had to be scrapped.
(D8YPS00N) [347] [...] kitchen curtains [...]
(D8YPS00C) [348] Yeah you had kitchen curtains
(D8YPS00N) [349] that's right and all the red went into little holes.
(D8YPS002) [350] All the red went in holes.
[351] Oh that, that's strange.
(D8YPS00P) [352] Our dining room chairs were covered in Rexine too [...] .
[353] Back seat and backing [...]
(D8YPS002) [354] That's right.
[355] Yes.
[356] And you could, you could push, push the seats up.
[357] Right so that's oh these are some erm designs for erm ... scarves and erm other accessories produced in the utility room.
[358] This is the victory design.
[359] And it's got victory written in small letters all over it and of course the v for victory and this this particular design here has got items of clothing and the number of coupons required for each item scattered over.
[360] ... And now we're coming on to your actual make do and mend.
[361] [reading] Women were encouraged by the Board of Trade to join make do and mend clubs [] .
[362] This is one of the government posters.
[363] And there was this awful woman, Mrs so and so, that was always telling women what to do and, she she wasn't very popular because some of the things that she suggested that women did to make do and mend were so tedious and time consuming.
[364] And they were encouraged to erm form make do and mend clubs where basic sewing skills and repair techniques were taught.
[365] As well as how to unpick a faded coat or dress and sew it up again inside out, that was one of the things mrs so and so suggested.
[366] [reading] Worn parts of old dresses were replaced with contrasting fabric and unfashionable outer and under garments were unpicked and remade in more fashionable styles.
[367] Children's clothes were made from remnants, old garments which could not be otherwise adapted.
[368] Sheets were turned sides to middle and worn blankets cut up to make sleeping bags for children.
[369] Housewives were advised to turn pillows over every morning when making the beds and the pillowcases would then last twice as long.
[370] All resources such as needles which were scarce, sewing machines, thread etcetera were shared.
[371] And buttons, zips, hooks and eyes, press studs etcetera were carefully sorted and retained.
[372] When unpicking a garment the lengths of thread or cotton were saved for mending and tacking.
[373] And scraps of thick woollen material were knotted into sacking to make split mats or hearth rugs.
[374] Magazines gave hints on how to m ake pretty collars and cuffs from scraps of unwanted material because we still had to look pretty.
[375] And trimmings using beads from broken necklaces, coloured pipe cleaners, sea shells, acorn cob nut and beech nut cups.
[376] Following the example of her majesty the queen, old felt hats were remodelled and leftover pieces mounted on cardboard to make buttons, or cut into interesting shapes for trimming belts and handbags knitted or crocheted in dish cloth cotton which was unrationed.
[377] Instructions were also given on making pretty matching covers for ones ration book and identity card and gas masks so you had a complete ensemble these are these are the belts and erm [break in recording]
(D8YPS002) [378] wore blouses and dresses again. []
[379] And here is a petticoat made from parachute nylon.
(D8YPS00P) [380] So did you get extra coupons if you were getting married or were you just expected to make do?
(D8YPS002) [381] Er you made do.
[382] You you had cur you wore curtains or parachute nylon or borrowed something.
(D8YPS00R) [383] Parachute silk was a sort [...]
(D8YPS00S) [384] We think you did have extra coupons when you got married.
(D8YPS002) [385] I don't I can't well I don't know I I don't think you did.
(D8YPS00C) [386] No see the material all people used was the nightdress nightdress material.
[387] The wedding dress.
(D8YPS002) [388] Yes.
(D8YPS00T) [389] Have you got anything about children's toys, cos they were in terrible short supply [...]
(D8YPS002) [390] Umm yes I do have I haven't brought it with me but I do have a book at home that that erm in that showed you know the pieces of fabric that you had left over from doing all this, erm I've got a pattern that my mother actually used to make things that were very are now very unpopular for my children.
[391] She used to make golliwogs out of old black stockings.
[392] And it showed you how to make things like that.
(D8YPS00T) [393] Some toys you could get, the German prisoners used to make didn't they?
(D8YPS002) [394] I don't know, is that true?
(D8YPS00T) [395] Yes, locally a lot of people got you know the, off the German prisoners of war used to make toys.
[396] And although they weren't allowed to sell them for money, people could give them objects, could give them things like coffee and things like that
(D8YPS002) [397] Yes.
(D8YPS00T) [398] in exchange and they used to do quite a trade in, cos a lot of them were quite skilled at making toys.
[399] I mean they were on farms all round here and erm people used to, they used to do a lot of toys.
[400] People used to get them for their children and [...]
(D8YPS002) [401] Like the French prisoners in the Napoleonic wars, used to do exactly the same thing.
[402] [reading] The manufacture of silk stockings was banned in December nineteen forty because silk was needed for parachutes.
[403] The only stockings available to buy were a thick brown lisle.
[404] These were not popular and as most women wore trousers or dungarees for the war work, hand knitted long socks or ankle socks were more comfortable and convenient.
[405] Those who were still fortunate enough to own a pair of silk stockings were given tips on how to make them last as long as possible.
[406] They should be kept in an airtight jar, and rinsed in methylated spirits before wearing.
[407] Colourless nail varnish should be applied to the suspender points and toe join as well as ladders or snags [] so that if you got a little ladder or a snag you put colourless nail varnish on it.
[408] [reading] Protective footlets could be made from the feet of old stockings.
[409] Odd ones could be died, bleached and died in tea or coffee to make a new matching pair.
[410] Stockings that were past repair were used as a base for the new victory roll hairstyle.
[411] After the suspender belt, suspender welt and foot had been cut off, the stocking was tied round the head and the hair rolled over and tucked into a v shape.
[412] And this style lent itself very well to uniform hats and caps.
[413] Pre-war underwear was available from high class shops but was far too expensive for most women.
[414] Utility underwear was strong and serviceable but totally lacking in glamour.
[415] And restrictions on yardage in use of elastic also applied.
[416] Cami knickers and french knickers became popular because they didn't take much material and were economic in coupons.
[417] Magazines gave instructions on how to make a pair of knickers from two silk chiffon scarves.
[418] Lightweight silky curtains reappeared as pyjamas, nightgowns, underwear and even wedding dresses [] which answers your question about wedding dresses.
[419] [reading] Patterns of knitted underwear for all the family were also available.
[420] In the immediate post-war years, supp lies of white or yellow nylon parachute material were released to the public.
[421] It was sold coupon free in eleven foot long triangular panels.
[422] Special patterns were produced in magazines and newspapers and instead of quoting the width and yardage needed for a garment, they stated the number of parachute panels you needed.
[423] The W V S and other voluntary services ran exchange centres where unwanted clothes, household utensils and small pieces of furniture were allocated a sliding scale of points which could be exchanged for other goods of equal value.
[424] Making do with footwear was a problem, especially for mothers of young children.
[425] Wear on leather soled shoes was saved by sticking on over soles made from pieces of old tyre inner tubes.
[426] In nineteen forty three wooden soled, wedge heeled shoes were introduced in the utility range and the Lady magazine gave hints on how to walk in them.
[427] If you find yourself walking a bit duck footed, concentrate on placing your toes in a pigeon-toed position and you will find that your muscles will soon cooperate [] .
[428] Well I think we have to stop there for a little while because it's nine o'clock, and I've just got erm a few more pictures to show you later on so if we have a short break now, I think the coffee ladies are ready.
[429] And erm you can come and have a look at my books or talk amongst yourselves and we'll resume later. ... [talk in background]