Sweet memories of once-rationed treats

Spring 1951 - Children eating sweets in Chorley Market after the ration ended
Spring 1951 - Children eating sweets in Chorley Market after the ration ended

Who remembers scoffing on sweets once the ration was over?

Reader John Cockram sent us this photograph of himself and several other Chorley Grammar School pupils outside a sweet stall in Chorley Market.

It was taken towards the end of the ration, in 1951. On the back were the words ‘we all like toffee 2p. Spring 1951’.

The 78-year-old, who grew up in Standish, said: “I was aged 12 or 13 and I remember going to Chorley Market with a group of friends. There was a chap there, who ran a sweet stall and he wanted to take a photo of us eating sweets from his stall.

“It was almost unbelievable that the sweets were there, as we had spent the last 10 or so years without sweets.

“I am pictured top right. I was wondering if anyone recognised themselves in the photo.”

John, who has two brothers, regularly attended Chorley Market.

He reminisced: “We would go on a weekly basis. It was one of the places we were allowed to go. Most days were either spent in Astley Park or on Chorley Market.”

Sweet and chocolate rationing started on July 26, 1942.

The amount of sugar and sweets allowed fluctuated during the war, ranging from 16oz a month down to 8oz (227g) a month.

Among the popular sweets were lemon sherbets, flying saucers, barley sugar twists, liquorice, jelly babies, Fry’s chocolate creams, pear drops and cola cubes.

A bid to end sweet rationing first occurred in 1949, but lasted for only four months as demand far outweighed supply.

A speedy end to rationing was promised by the Conservatives in the run-up to their election victory in 1951, and the Minister for Food Major Gwilym Lloyd-George was charged with making its repeal a priority. Sugar was eventually taken off rationing in September 1953; and rationing fully ended in July 1954.