Ewhurst History Society

November 1918

School Dinners

By 1918 food shortages were becoming acute. Britain relied on imported foodstuffs, particularly wheat, but attacks on shipping by German U boats was decimating supplies and rationing was introduced in for sugar, meat and fats. Bread was not rationed but people were urged to eat less and waste of any kind was frowned upon. The price of non-rationed foods rocketed and there was concern that children were not receiving a proper diet. In many areas school dinners were introduced to remedy this. The scheme at Ewhurst was considered to be a particularly good example and was described in a long article in the Surrey Advertiser.

The school canteen had been running since 1917. It was held in the Church Hall and an average of 31 children were attending. It was organized by a team of volunteers including “an excellent cook who has patriotically given up her mornings to do this work”. Some of the vegetables were grown in the school’s own garden and others donated. The costs of approximately 11 shillings per week, including coal, were offset by a charge of 2½d. per meal. A typical menu was soup, or a savoury, such a ‘potato and gravy’ and a pudding such as rice pudding. It was noted that the menus used “no bread and as little flour as possible – only 6lb of flour per week” and the committee had special permits for lard, butter and sugar.

It was also reported that the same committee, with sugar permits, had made 1,000 lbs of jam to sell to villagers - strawberry, currant, gooseberry, rhubarb, hurts, blackberries and apples.

The Armistice

On the 11thNovember the school log book recorded “When news was received that an Armistice had been signed, Sir George Johnston hoisted the flag, the children assembled in front of the school and after a few words had been spoken by the Rector, all joined in singing the National Anthem. Three Cheers were given for the King, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and our Allies.” A peel of bells was rung in the Parish Church.