Food in the 1950s

Rationing and Making do: British Food in WW2

Throughout the Second World War, food was rationed in Britain, and this did not end with the war. Although more foods were coming into the country, there were still shortages and rationing did not completely finish until 1954. 

- Tea was still on ration until 1952 

- 1953 saw the end of sugar and egg rationing 

- In 1954 cheese and meats finally came off ration 

After being deprived of meat for so long, when rationing ended many people concentrated on cooking meat dishes for their evening meal and, if they could afford it, families would often made an impressive joint for Sunday lunch.

Tasting wartime dishes:


Pupils of St Barts School in Leeds sampled some of the dishes that would have been popular in the 1950s, from SPAM fritters (see next page) to avocados, salmon sandwiches, dripping sandwiches, corned beef hash, liver, fruit salad, Coronation Chicken and jelly and custard.

Here are their comments on the food:

'Today I found out I like spam fritters and jelly and custard.'

'I only liked the jelly out of all the foods because I don't eat meat and fish and that kind of stuff.'

'I didn't like jelly before but I like it now and the salmon. I learnt that people ate lots of healthy things.'

'I liked the dumplings but not the liver. I liked the corn beef hash best.'

'I enjoyed today because I tried dishes which I have never tried before...'


The children then used what they had discovered about food in the 1950s to write their own lunch menus.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Armley Mills Museum, Leeds Museums and Galleries | 

Comment on this page

  • Posted by Colleen on 28/04/2014

    i am doing a project on food in the 1950's. can you give me any advice on tha

  • Posted by connor sharp on 19/12/2013

    i like fried chicken

  • Posted by kyle nelson on 11/11/2013

    can you tell me some 1950s food please

  • Posted by Olivia on 28/05/2012

    I am doing stuff for the jublie for what happened in the 1950s sooooooooo hard.!!!!!!!!!!!l

  • Posted by My Learning on 24/02/2010

    Hi Olivia - if you look through the pages on this resource, and watch the video, you should get some ideas about what foods were popular. Also, the links at the bottom of this page lead to some other useful websites.

  • Posted by Olivia on 16/02/2010

    i am doing a history project during the half term, please can you tell me witch food was popular, Thanks

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