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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Blighty's Bread


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Can anyone tell me what types of bread were allowed to be baked in WW1? The size, weight, any other particulars, please? And, if possible some idea of price, please.

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Just to put you in the picture – and anyone else who reads this, I’m researching the bread situation as it developed in WW1.


What I know is that before the war over 60 different varieties of bread were being baked and, with the inevitable wheat shortages yet to come, the Government restricted these to only 1 or 2 varieties. Or is that true - that’s my first question – was it just one variety or was it two? I can’t find the answer anywhere. Different websites tell you different things.


In local newspapers, at that time, the talk was of the rise in bread prices, of the “Quartern”, a loaf weighing about 3.3 lb. (1.5 Kg.), yet the Government had passed a law making the baking of any loaf above 1 ¾ lb. (in real weight measurements or 0.8 Kg in the other stuff!) illegal.


I need to find the truth – were there two loaves or just one?

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  • 1 month later...

The interesting thing about war time bread is that it was probably healthier than the bread many people were eating before the way. Being able to buy white bread made of highly-processed flour had become a status symbol in the decades before the war, but coarser-grinds became the rule during the war. Given that bread was a far greater portion of the daily diet then than it is today, a few years a whole-grain bread presumably had a bit if a health benefit.

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While unable to answer your question, I thought you might be interested in this appeal to save bread issued by the National War Savings Committee. Each "side" is 4.5 x 3.5 inches and its meant to be folded to form a small "sandwich board" (apologies!!) presumably to sit on restaurant tables.


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On 20/10/2003 at 07:24, michaeldr said:

This thread started with mention of the Gallipoli campaign and one of its aims being access to the Black Sea and thus to Russia's grain harvests. As that campaign ground to a WF style stalemate in 1915 and its objectives slipped from the allies grasp, it is interesting to note that that year also saw the steepest single rise in wheat prices;+50%


For a recent take on an old GWF subject see https://medium.com/history-uncut/the-wheat-problem-516b2ee3bd63#__prclt=GtRMzVOi

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  I do not currently have access to my own copies of them  but have you had a look at the following books?






   They are,in effect, an official history. It was projected that there would be a civil series of "official histories" to complement the "military histories" but this scheme fell through. Instead, the Carnegie Endowment sponsored the preparation of a number of volumes -as it says on the BL catalogue enties above- to become an "Economic and Social History of the  World War, British Series". They were nearly all written by those who had been involved at a high level in the officialdom they were describing.

[There is also a volume in a preliminary series published by the Carnegie Endowment, usually through the Oxford University Press, done in 1918-1919 and my memory is there is one on the same subject, I think by Hammond-the economic historian who did the official Civil History of Food for the Second World War

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It seems not just food was effected by the war. medicines and even paper. An entry in my grandfather's diary dated 2nd April 1916 mentions the rising cost at home.

' Supply of drugs which have now reached a fearful price - Potassium bromide usually one shilling a pound now thirty shillings. Sodium saline one shilling two pence now twenty seven shillings. Paper, four shillings a ream now eight shillings etc' Putting extreme pressure on his practice

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For the two books mentioned above.


The first one is available online if you live in USA and some other countries, at HathiTrust Digital Library

Experiments in state control at the War Office and the Ministry of Food  by E.M.H. Lloyd 1924



The second one is available at Archive.org

British Food Control by Sir William H Beveridge 1928

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