Springtime in an English Village

Unseen for years due to the fragility of the materials, ‘Springtime in an English Village’ offers an extraordinary and unexpected snapshot of rural life in wartime. After a fairly predictable opening – farmers ploughing fields, cute baby animals gambolling – it finally gets down to business. The film is about that most ancient of English traditions: the selection and crowning of the Queen of the May. But what is so surprising is that 60 years ago the village of Stanion in Northamptonshire chose to honour a young black girl – apparently the daughter of an African merchant seaman who had been evacuated there during the War.

It’s hard to know quite how literally to take the proceedings. The film was made by the Colonial Film Unit for the purpose of screening throughout Britain’s African and Caribbean colonies – to demonstrate ‘typical’ life in the UK – at a time when the government needed to recruit the support of men and women from across the Empire. Later, in the immediate post-War period, such films not only acted to reinforce imperial solidarity, but formed part of a propaganda campaign to attract cheap labour to the UK. (Robin Baker, with thanks to Tom Rice for additional research)

Tea Making Tips (1941)

Welcome to the world of a national obsession and a place where people say ‘orf’ instead of ‘off’. Tea connoisseurs will benefit from the six golden tips for making the perfect cuppa, as well as countless other handy hints (never store your tea next to cheese, for example). There’s an assessment of the pros and cons of various teapots and words of wisdom about the tea bush itself.

Slightly grotesque methods for producing tea en masse are demonstrated – it was wartime, after all – and tea had to be produced by the oceanful. As such, there are some top tips for cleaning that hard-to-reach tap in your tea urn. Remember: “a dirty tap means dirty tea”

Two Cooks and a Cabbage

This intriguing title is essential viewing for cooks everywhere, especially in times of austerity. The two cooks, Sally and Jane, are called upon to assist their forthright, no-nonsense northern Grandmother (Mrs Ingleton) in cooking dinner. The girls are sent to find a large cabbage from the wartime garden and cut it in half: a whole cabbage would be frivolous; there is a war on!

Sally and Jane choose different cooking techniques but the message is simple: never boil green vegetables in vast quantities of water.

Welcome to Wartime Recipes



Welcome to our section devoted to Wartime Recipes. We have seperated this section out of the Historical Recipes in response to the ever increasing demand for recipes connected to wartime.

We hope you find someting of interest. If you have any wartime recipes, from any period, that you would like to share with visitors you can quickly and easily add yours to this site.