12th January 1946. A Nice Cup of Tea.

In 1949 a survey revealed that rationing had influenced eating habits in that sugar and meat consumption had fallen, but more coffee and cocoa were consumed in response to tea rationing.

1892 press advert.

1892 press advert.

Ad on buses

Advert as on London’s horse buses in the 19thc.






Nearly one third of world consumption was in Britain and Ireland and the re-entry of Britain into public tea auctions and international tea trade presaged the end to tea rationing (3oz per person per week), in late 1952.

Back in 1946 in an essay in Today’s [London] Evening Standard, writer George Orwell, listed in a ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’, eleven requirements to produce a perfect beveridge, but his recommendation of six spoons of tea per pot in 1946 seems excessive in a time of rationing.(1)

Orwell was also challenged in an article by Dr Andrew Stapley, chemical engineer at Loughborough University to mark the centennial of the author’s birth, in 2003, when he derided six teaspoons of tea as too much.

He also decried the notion that milk be poured into hot tea. As Stapley said the milk proteins unfold into clumps resulting in denaturation of the milk protein.

Milk is 85% water and an emulsifying colloid of liquid butterfat globules dispersed in a water-based solution.

It is rich in vitamins of the fat soluble A, D, E, and the B complex plus type C. Salts, including Chlorides, Phosphates, Citrates of Sodium, Calcium and Magnesium as well as Lactose and Proteins.

Most of our tea, mixed with this milk, comes from Sri Lanka, once Ceylon, in three varieties: black (fermented), green (unfermented) and oolong (half-fermented).

They have compounds- polyphenols, containing flavenoids which are said to neutralise all the free radicals in the blood which causes cell damage, heart disease, strokes and amounts of ‘bad’cholesterol.

One of the big brands, Tetley Tea, which introduced tea bags in the 1950s, was taken over in 2000 by the Ta-Ta, Indian Tea Company, and Typhoo once owned by Premier Foods was sold to another Indian company: coals to Newcastle!











Here Twinings were still going strong after three centuries, likewise the Rington Tea Company in Newcastle whose home delivery service was still thriving.


(1) On the 3rd October in 1952 the Minister of Food, Major Gwyllym Lloyd George announced tea rationing was to end on the following Sunday after 12 years, along with price controls.

However sugar which depended on scarce dollars to purchase, wasn’t de-rationed until 26th September the following year.

Ref: news.bbc.co.uk/on this day/ 3.10.1952/end of tea rationing.

Ref: Orwell: BBC News Channel, Wednesday 25th June 2003.

Ref: The Orwell Diaries.

Ref: nbtea.co.uk/Liptons Ad.Image.

Ref: horniman.ac.uk/Pic Image.

Ref: oldsydneysigns.com/Pic Image.

Ref: Ringtons History/Pic Ad.


Tags: , ,

About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: