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Family Activities5th September 2018

Beetroot to gravy, here are some unusual things used in the 40’s due to rations…

Beetroot to gravy, here are some unusual things used in the 40’s due to rations…

With the outbreak of war, rationing was put into place to limit what a household could purchase. Women therefore had to become more creative to keep their everyday appearance and lifestyle as close to normal as possible.

Television was a rarity, but cinema was a popular escapism and with film stars such as Betty Grable, Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth, their looks influenced others.

As personal appearance could be a sign of low morale, women took great lengths to ensure they were well-dressed. Beetroot juice was used for lip colour, whilst items such as boot polish was used as mascara! With nylon in short supply too, women would draw with an eyebrow pencil, a line down the back of their legs to give the same effect. They would also use tea or gravy to give themselves a fake tan.

With more women in the workplace, long hair was dangerous with the machinery. This meant that hair styles were often up out of the way. The original Victory Roll was made using an old stocking which wrapped the hair like a headband in a tight roll.

Food rations also affected the household. Women had to get creative in the kitchen too. The first items to be rationed were bacon, butter and sugar. One adult per week could have approximately 350g of sweets.

The rations also affected the pubs! With reduced sugar and grain, distilleries had shortages of beer and whisky, so trips to the pub were cut down. Some pubs even had shortages of glasses, so people had to bring their own!

But luckily for us, rations aren’t limiting our food or fashion style at Salute to the ‘40s, one of Britain’s best vintage festivals held at The Historic Dockyard Chatham on 15th & 16th September 2018. There’ll be salons for the perfect Victory roll to be made and plenty of stalls to buy the best fashion. Don’t miss out on the 1940’s vintage shops too where you can visit a sweet shop and/or pub!

With live music from the Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Polka Dot Dolls, The D-Day Darlings (as seen on Britain’s Got Talent 2018) and many more – the 1940s will be filling The Dockyard with all your favourites to enjoy.

Advanced discounted tickets are available now at


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