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Basket of goods - What cost in 1914?

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Hi all,

I'm trying to put together a handout for use in schools and I'd like to find out the cost of each item in a basket of some random goods relevant to the period around 1914. I've checked elsewhere in the forum and found many discussions about the cost of living in general around that time, but the concept might be too abstract for the age group (around 10 years old).

To overcome this I wonder if anyone could give a reasonably accurate "old money" cost, in Pounds Shillings and Pence, of each of the following items in 1914:

1 lb Tea

1 lb Lard

1 Candle

1 Loaf of Bread

Mutton (per lb)

Herring each


Pint milk

1 lb flour

1 lb Butter

1 lb stewing beef

1 lb cheese

1 lb sausages

1 lb sugar

1 lb oats

Thanks in anticipation,


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For your amusement you may want to look at these August 1914 prices I scarfed from adverts in a local newspaper. The prices are in dollars, which changed hands at about five dollars to the pound sterling.

Sugar 20lb for $1.20

Butter 3lb for $0.82

Rolled oats 8lb for $0.30

Potatoes 10lb for $0.25

Flour 24lb for $0.95

Tea 3lb for $1.00

Bacon lb $0.28

Lard 3lb $0.35

Coal ton $3.50

Fray Bentos corned beef 1lb tin $0.26

Potatoes were sometimes sold by the bushel. There was none of this one pound of flour or sugar business. Many folks bought flour in 98 lb sacks.

Food retailing was less sophisticated in those days, but one could still buy bananas here somehow.

Prices rose during the war.

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Apologies for the earlier post - I tried to copy and paste something from my dissertation and it's gone all wrong

These are prices from 1914 and then 1916 in the Fylde

51b Meat - 1 s 8d 3 lb meat - 3s 0d

4 lb Sugar - 1 s 2lb Sugar - 1s

3 1/2 lb Bacon - 2s 4d 2lb Bacon 2s 4d

3 1/2 lb Cheese - 2s 4d 1 lb Cheese 1s 2d

12 qts milk - 3 s 7 qts milk 2 1/2 d

In 1917 the Fylde Food Control Committee fixed the prices



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  • 5 months later...

I'm away at the moment but if you pm me then I can scan and send you a copy of an old Radio Times article which lists a whole host of items and their cost in 1914 as well as some examples of pay to give some idea of relative cost which gives more sense to the prices.

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Thanks for the offer Stuartd, I was able to assemble the info needed from the replies above so won't need any more on this.

Ta very much,


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  • 6 months later...

Hi Dave,

I am new to this forum, so this is my first post. I saw your list of items for which you were seeking prices, and you said in your most recent post that you had got sufficient details for your needs. I was wondering, if you still have the information you had requested, would you be willing to share it with me? I am looking for such a list to support a maths based project for students of primary and lower secondary ages. I have already acquired a number of coins of the era and one element I would like to do is to model shopping with real coins and realistic prices of the day.

Also, I don't suppose you know anything about the kinds of items that were being rationed at the time?


Jack Chase

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Welcome to the forum Jack,

No problem sharing the info. I'll send a link to the schools pack I was using the info in, but I'll need access to my work pc tomorrow.

All the best,


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Here's a shortcut to the schools pack:


Although technically referring to 1913, it is relevant to the social conditions prevalent during the buildup to WWI. Page 18 of the schools pack has a table, also appendix II of the teachers' notes has some of the maths associated with pounds shillings and pence.

The tables are from D.A. Chart's "Unskilled labour in Dublin: its housing and living conditions"



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