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Feeding the Workforce during WWII

Object Type: Folder
In Folder: WWII Showcase

Date of Document

Feeding the Workforce

By the end of the war, over 100,000 meals were being served daily in the canteens, using 5 cows, 30 sheep, 4,000 dried eggs, 100 sacks of potatoes, 130 sacks of cabbages, 30 sacks of flour, 1,200 loaves, 1,600 gallons of milk, 105,000 cups of tea, and 63,000 cakes!

With the outbreak of war, special emergency arrangements as well as a great expansion of the canteen facilities became necessary. Emergency field kitchens were constructed at all canteens, in case of gas and water supply issues. 70 blast proof equipped shelters enabled a refreshment service to be maintained during the air raids. The number of canteens was increased from 113 to 150, employing 1,930 staff.

Under the strenuous conditions of war, the canteen service became vital. By 1939, the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) had built up a well organised system of canteens for staff at depots, garages, works, and at places where meal reliefs were taken on the road.

LPTB helped with the 'Dig for Victory' campaign. It turned over free land including railway embankments, for agricultural purposes. 850 staff were allocated individual allotments for a nominal fee.

This humorous article summarises London Passenger Transport Board's efforts to join the "Grow-More-Food battalion" by gardening railway embankments.

To supply the increased number of canteens, farms were established at Brockley Hill, Little Bushy, and Staines.

By 1943, 130 acres of farmland (spread over 5 farms) was supplying over four fifths of all the food required by the canteens. To cater for the canteens, 12,000lb of vegetables were needed for harvest each week.

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