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Sweet memories of life after rationing

Posted on 7 June 2016

When heaven was a 6d mix from the corner shop…

In 1953 sweet rationing finally ended. Kids all over the country scraped together every last farthing and dashed to the corner shop for a taste of pontefract cakes, penny sherbets, plush nuggets, raspberry drops and dolly mixtures. There was nothing more exciting than wall-to-wall jars of sugary lovelies, calling to us!

All things sweet became our passion. The sheer luxury of a whole Mars bar to ourselves; the delight of a jubbly at the pictures or candy floss by the sea… no wonder we look back on these first sweet loves with such nostalgia.

See how many of your sweet memories made it into our mixed bag.

Coupons and carrots on sticks

Let’s start by remembering the generous souls who handed coupons in at shops so they could be given to us kids. Thanks to them we occasionally got a proper sweet instead of the popular wartime alternative, iced carrots. Imagine giving those to the grandchildren today!

2-small-children-holding-hands-looking-at-sign-advertising-carrot-ices
Source: dailymail.co.uk

Sweet rationing ends

We thought the day would never come but it did. Eight long years after the war ended…

a-mass-of-children-charging-into-a-sweet-shop-as-rationing-ends
Source: alamay.com

The neighbourhood El Dorado

The local sweet shop was the most magical place. So many jars, so much choice… how far would 6d stretch? Window-shopping was a serious business.

2-school-boys-inspecting-the-goods-in-a-sweet-shop-window
Source: alamay.com

Avery scales and toffee hammers

Shopkeepers held court over the Avery scale as they expertly weighed out a quarter and wielded a hammer to break giant slabs of toffee. We didn’t care that they were armed; to us they were heroes…

shopkeeper-serving-a-child-with-the-Avery-scale-and-sweet-jars-on-the-counter
Source: alamay.com

Toffee apples not 5-a-day

Whether from the shop or homemade by Mum, toffee apples were a delicious treat! (And a great way of getting us to eat apples that had seen better days…)

a-young-girl-in-striped-dress-eating-a-toffee-apple
Source: alamay.com

Counters packed with colours and flavours

We’d stand on tippy toes to catch a glimpse of the ha’penny chews and sweet cigarettes on top of the high wooden countertop. If we bought a packet of ‘fags’, we’d pretend to smoke them all the way home.

small-children-reaching-up-to-see-the-sweets-on-the-counter
Source: alamay.com

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate

Some of us may remember when a 2oz chocolate bar at Christmas was as good as it got. Once sugar was back, the nation went mad for chocolate and some of the younger kids had their first real taste of its loveliness.

baby-eating-chocolate
Source: alamay.com

Cinema sweets were extra special

Hopefully we had enough pennies for both the ticket and some sweets from Woolies or the usherette between the film and cartoon. Blackjacks, Fruit Salads, Flying Saucers, Shrimps, Gobstoppers and Spanish Gold got us through many a cliffhanger.

cinema-usherette-serving-a-young-girl-and-two-older-boys-from-her-tray
Source: alamay.com

And finally, holidays were hell on our teeth

No trip to the seaside was complete without a stick of rock or a huge ball of candy floss. Even today, the smell of hot sugar triggers thoughts of donkey rides, dad paddling in his jacket and soggy, knitted bathing suits.

2-girls-eating-candy-floss-at-the-seaside
Source: alamay.com

Did you ever spend your lunch money on Victory Vs, win a box of chocolates for sitting in ‘the lucky seat’ at the pictures, or receive a ‘smokers’ selection box for Christmas, complete with chocolate cigars and pipe? We’d love to know! After all, it’s always good to share your sweets…

If you enjoyed these sweet memories, you might also enjoy our look back at holidays after the war, school days and the most dramatic weather of our lifetime.

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