The View From the Corner Shop
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During the Second World War, in the Yorkshire town of Dewsbury, Kathleen Hey helped her sister and brother-in-law run a grocery shop. From July 1941 to July 1946 she kept a diary for the Mass Observation project, recording in vivid detail the thoughts and concerns of local customers as rationing took hold and shopkeepers bore the brunt of complaints about food shortages.
A lack of onions provokes outrage among her customers, and Kathleen writes, 'I believe they think we have secret onion orgies at night and use them all up.' The Brooke Bond tea rep complains that tea need not be rationed at all if supply ships were not filled with 'useless goods' such as Corn Flakes, and there is a long-running saga about the non-arrival of Smedley's peas.
Author: Kathleen Hey, edited by Patricia & Robert Malcolmson