Home 1951

Most of the homes in Stowupland were rented in 1951 but many people dreamt of owning their own home.

A 1950's Kitchen
A 1950's Kitchen

Inside, houses were still quite basic. People thought themselves well off if their floors had linoleum rather than bare boards with the odd rug.

National Survey

The government was concerned about the overall housing situation in the whole of Britain and consequently the 1951 census had questions on housing needs. In Suffolk the results were shocking.

  • 27.8% of homes had no piped water
  • 32.1% did not have a WC
  • 53.3% did not have a fixed bath
  • 19.3% did not have a kitchen sink And
  • 5.6% did not have a cooking stove.

No Mod Cons

In most homes a slow burning grate with a copper boiler behind it provided heating and hot water.

Domestic appliances were rare and virtually unobtainable to the ordinary family as they were expensive. Only 15% of the British people owned a fridge in 1957 and in 1952 only 1 in 5 households had a TV, and that had only one channel. Viewing time was limited to an hour in the afternoon, an hour at teatime and three hours between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Post War Rationing

A family group in a 1950's Living Room
A shopkeeper cancels the coupons in a British
housewife's ration book for the tea, sugar,
cooking fats and bacon she is allowed
for one week
Food in 1951 was still rationed and some items were scarcer than they had been during the War.

In 1951 Winston Churchill was voted back in as Prime Minister.

One of the first things he did when he regained office was to ask for one week's food ration to be set out before him to see just what people really had to eat.

To his horror the entire rations for one week were what he would normally eat at one breakfast!

Rations for 1 Week for 1 Person

1oz cheese (Roughly about 2 inch by 1 inch by half inch cube, barely enough to fill 1 sandwich)
2oz tea (Equivalent to about 20 teabags today)
2oz jam spread
4oz bacon or ham
8oz sugar
1 shilling's (5p) worth of meat
8oz fats of which only 2oz could be butter
Rationing ended 21 Feb 1952 although sweets were still rationed until 1953.

This exhibition is part of a wider sustainability project delivered through the Rural Museums East Partnership. It is funded by Renaissance East of England.

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