​September Meeting: Food by Elaine Beach

Our September talk was given by our redoubtable Elaine; I had better not say it was on her favourite subject “Food” but suffice to say that Elaine has so much material that there will be a second offering in 2018 covering the food shortages of 1917, rationing, and the situation in Halifax until the end of the hostilities.

For anyone young enough to have only experieced the weekly supermarket shop, it may be difficult to understand the relationship between the independent or small private shopkeeper and his neighbourhood customers. For me, one of the highlights of Elaine’s talk were the letters to the Courier explaining and apologising for shortages and price rises, and assuring regular customers that there was no favourtism shown.

It also took me back to my childhood in the 1950s when my parents managed a branch of Gallons the Grocers. I suspect things then were not all that different to the period we study. It was all personal service, there was a chair for the customer, a broken biscuit for a child, a lad and the shop bike to deliver your purchases, mental arithmetic in pounds, shillings and pence to add up your bill, and my father to remember what you usually order.