Few items are more symbolic of daily life during the Second World War than the ration book. Learn about their history on our blog.
Do we care for the people who care for our food? Learn about the Feeding the Nation project, exploring the lives of seasonal migrant workers.
Learn about our focus for 2022: highlighting how we take care of rural heritage, the countryside’s future, and each other.
The servants’ ball has had a long tradition in the country house estates of Britain and only really died out after the Second World War.
Exhibition catalogue, Black Eyes and Lemonade, 1951 This catalogue listed the contents of a quietly influential exhibition held as part of the Festival of Britain. An eclectic range of items were assembled by artist and author Barbara Jones, the creative force behind the show. The displays made a powerful statement about the importance and vitality […]
Biscuit tin, Huntley and Palmers, 1951–1952 This biscuit tin is part of the Huntley & Palmer Collection at Reading Museum. It features a watercolour of the historic Yarn Market at Dunster, Somerset. This slice of ‘olde England’ was much visited by holiday makers to the nearby seaside resort of Minehead prior to the Second World […]
Written by Phillippa Heath, Learning and Engagement Manager at The MERL. As part of Traveller’s History Month, we have been sharing MERL collections which connect with the histories of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. These fascinating collections, spanning objects, archives, photography, art and library collections, tell us so much about the importance of GRT heritage […]
Ministry of Food, Ration book and coupons, 1950–1951 The early-1950s date of this ration book helps show the longevity of rationing during and after the Second World War. This policy began in 1940 and continued in some form for 14 years. Inside the book can be found coupons and further papers linked to food, clothes, tea, soap, […]
Waddingtons, Grade Up to Elite Cow board game, 1986 This extraordinary game saw players attempt to ‘grade up’ their imaginary dairy cattle to pedigree status via Monopoly-style gameplay. They navigated the board collecting semen to improve their herd and in doing so it was hoped that real farmers might feel encouraged to focus on livestock […]
Before mechanisation, harvesting was hard manual work and often farms provided food and drink for all the workers who worked long hours in the fields. Typically, labourers worked from 5am till dusk, but were compensated by extra pay at harvest. They could double their wages at harvest time, and there was the possibility of a […]