30 June 2016

25th-26th Jan 1947: shopping list, with shilling bag of coalite

25 Sat. Severe frost all day, dismal misty, a light sprinkling of snow. In afternoon bought fish, fish paste, two birthday cards, scouring powder, some throat pastilles and a 14lb bag of coalite @ 1/-; all locally.

26 Sun. Very severe frost; snowing all day, dismal misty, the snow is drifted by the fine gusts of wind. Some children called but Gwennie & Donald stayed at home because the weather is so bad. Mrs. Akroyd came to tea.

29 June 2016

23rd-24th Jan 1947: no meat + fish queue + light snow

23 Thur. Hard frost all day; dull, light fall of snow; bitter N wind. No meat at the butchers so bought a tin of meat & vegetables which was very nice. A long queue at the fish shop although there was no fish. The women just wait in the bitter weather in the hope that some may arrive. Took up the slack in the back brake of my bicycle.

24 Fri. Severe frost all day, dull, bitter N wind. Got a nice piece of pork this week. Did other shopping locally: also bought fish in afternoon. Gwennie & Donald called in afternoon.

28 June 2016

21st-22nd Jan 1947: £6 10s suit ordered, from Wimbledon

21 Tues. Hard, black frost, very cold day; some sun midday: foggy later. To Wimbledon in afternoon to order a new suit, a dark blue with a pale blue stripe price 130/- it will be ready in four months time! I stood for ¾ of an hour in a queue to buy some smoked haddock. Called in at 34: Gwennie had a sick headache.

22 Wed. Sharp frost lasting all day; dull, bitter E wind. Got the groceries locally. Thence pedalled to Mitcham in the bitter weather to buy cats meat. Played dominoes with Ciss in evening: I won.

27 June 2016

19th-20th Jan 1947: cold & foggy

19 Sun. Cold, very dull, rather foggy. The usual children called: also John Child in evening. Did not go out.

20 Mon. Very cold, very dull and misty, chilly breeze. Got some fish pieces locally. To Wimbledon along rail path in afternoon. Met Gwennie in the road: went with her to buy a few things. Bought two sheets of picture puzzles to give to her.

Tennis special post - celebrating Wimbledon

On the day (27 June 2016) that the annual Wimbledon Lawn Tennis
event begins, here's a Google map showing that Fred
 lived about one mile away. Chestnut Road is centre at foot,
 and you can see the shape of tennis courts at centre top.

26 June 2016

17th-18th Jan 1947: gift of meat to UK from Uruguay

17 Fri Very cool, some sunny periods. Got the meat: this week 5d is being deducted from each ration as Uruguay has given a present of meat to the British public: we are not to have extra but we get our ration that much cheaper. Cycled to Mitcham where I got some good cats meat. Bought golden syrup, paraffin and fish paste locally in afternoon. Laurie & Donald brought some meat for the cats.

18 Sat. Sharp white morning frost, fine cold, bright sunny day. To Wimbledon in afternoon where I bought some fish which is coming back into the shops in small quantities. Bought something at the chemists also. Had a happy afternoon playing games with Gwennie & Laurie. They can play dominoes now instead of using them to build houses with. We also played pin board and beat your neighbour out of doors*.

*a card game in which one player tries to win all the cards from the other player

25 June 2016

15th-16th Jan 1947: strikes mean fish & meat shortage

15 Wed. Mild, but the extremely boisterous wind made it seem very cold: very dull. At one place I had to pedal downhill on low gear against the blast when cycling to Morden. I toured the district for fish but got none. I waited in a queue for half an hour but supplies gave out before I reached the shop. If the large scale transport and dockers strikes continue much longer, food shops will have to shut. Soldiers are delivering meat as the Smithfield men are out but supplies are small and dwindling.
The trio called to-day: they brought Gwennie’s doll in her cradle for me to see.

16 Thur. Mild for season: lovely sunshine all day: as nice as a Jan. day could be. Got something from the local butchers. To my surprise got some frozen herrings at Morden without queueing: got some for Mrs. Collis as she has not been able to get any fish. People are queuing up at fish shops in their hundreds simply hoping that some fish may arrive only to be turned away. A food strike is a serious thing but the strikers are going back to work on Sat. Re-built a small glider for Laurie.


Note: staff of about 30 large haulage companies in London started an unofficial strike on 10th Jan 1947. Deliveries of meat, fruit, fish, newsprint, and other commodities were suspended The men were stated to be dissatisfied with a proposed award increasing their annual holidays from six days to nine days. They claimed an annual holiday of 14 days.

The workers were also opposed to the rejection of a claim for the reduction of the working week from 48 hours to 44 hours.

Another complaint was that the machinery of the Road Haulage Central Wages Board was too slow in action.

Members of the Transport and General Workers Union, National Union of General and Municipal Workers, Scottish Horse and Motormen's Association, Liverpool and District Carters' Association, and the United Road Transport Workers' Association were involved in the dispute. The companies concerned were engaged in transport from Covent Garden and Smithfield, Billingsgate, Spitalfields and Borough markets.

24 June 2016

13th-14th Jan 1947: bought glass ear syringe

13 Mon. Rather cold, some sunshine, extremely boisterous, the wind seeming to come from all quarters. To Morden to buy cats meat and a glass ear syringe. Fitted a cover and new tube to back wheel of cycle. Played dominoes with Ciss in evening.

14 Tues. Rather mild, very dull, drizzle almost all day: windy. Bought a few things locally in morning. Bought cats meat at Merton in afternoon. Gwennie & Laurie called.

23 June 2016

11th-12th Jan 1947: strike closes fish & butchers shops

11 Sat. Rather mild for season. Red dawn: dull day, drizzle. Toured the district and finally bought herrings in Haydon’s Rd. A strike has closed most fish shops and butchers. Dreamed of dear Connie Bradley: it was lovely to see her although only a dream.

12 Sun. Rather mild, small amount of sun in morning: dull, rain later. Nothing much to record save that John Child called in evening only to be promptly and unceremoniously fetched back by Audrey.

22 June 2016

10th Jan 1947: a "slight" fire

10 Fri. Severe white morning frost which disappeared suddenly midday the temperature rising to 44°, very dull, drizzle late in day. A slight outbreak of fire in the roof of 10 Oxford Avenue. I stood by for a little while, while firemen went in to have a look; the escape soon went and left the engine there. Got the meat and other provisions locally. Met Laurie & Donald just returning from a hair-cut. Gwennie left her gloves here this afternoon: she will be after them tomorrow.

21 June 2016

9th Jan 1947: 25 houses were destroyed

9 Thur. Cold; some lovely sunshine for time of year in morning, dull later. A firm of builders are clearing the bomb sites in this road, pulling down the two derelict houses at the end, seemingly as a prelude to building again the 25 houses destroyed at this end of Chestnut Road. Mrs. Child is hoping to come back again. To Merton to buy lights and fish for the cats, a new 120-volt high-tension battery and some liver – not for cats. Fitted the battery and the loud-speaker quality is marvellous. Made a tapped medium-wave coil for John Child.

20 June 2016

7th-8th Jan 1947: snow

7 Tues. Very cold but slightly thawing: dull, drizzle later. Fitted new leads to the phones I am lending to John Child; got the Conley boys to take them. I left a glove at the Slate Club last night so I went to the Church this afternoon and got it. Bought something at the chemists. John called round later to tell me he had got some stations on his crystal set.

8 Wed. Very cold becoming less so: the snow disappeared by the afternoon: very dull. Got the groceries locally also cats meat at Morden. Played dominoes with Ciss in evening – she won.

19 June 2016

5th-6th Jan 1947: snow

5 Sun. Very cold, very dull, bright moonlight at night. The usual children called. John Child called in evening: gave him some parts and a drawing to make a crystal receiver.

6 Mon. Freezing hard all day. Dull, snowing till afternoon: an inch fell. Bought fish and got the accumulator. Paid club in evening. John Child called saying he had bought a crystal detector and could now do with a pair of phones – I promised him a pair.

18 June 2016

3rd-4th Jan 1947: bitter wind

3 Fri. Very cold, some sun in morning, dull later: cold wind. To butchers also to pay newspapers and get some sweets in morning. In afternoon to Merton to buy fish and some cats meat, and haricot beans. Laurie called for his scooter which he left in the front garden yesterday: I took it in as I thought it might be taken. Saw a very large twin-engined monoplane circling round with one propeller stopped as if it were going to land but it did not seem much the worse as it could climb: it eventually flew off westward.

4 Sat. Very cold, dull, but a little sun in morning: bitter wind. Gwennie called bringing a Xmas present book for me to read. She called also in afternoon and seemed disinclined to go home till her father called for her. I think there had been some trouble – or she had got into it there and had come here to escape it. You can’t help laughing. Did some shopping locally.

17 June 2016

1st-2nd Jan 1947: A Happy New Year?

1 Wed. Severe white frost, but a fine sunny day which thawed the frost where the sun shone. To Morden to buy cats meat, also bought something at Boots the chemists. Wished the young lady who served me “A Happy New Year”: she seemed very pleased and smiled a reply “and the same to you, thank you”; wasn’t that lovely. Gwennie, Laurie and Donald came to our New Year tea party. They seemed to enjoy it and the games which followed the tea: I am sure I did.

2 Thur. Very cold, dull, foggy later. Bought fish and paraffin locally. Met Aunt Hannah with cousin Ivy and Barbara who is a bright clear-eyed girl of 7.

Army troops clear snow from a railway cutting, UK 1947 - Wikipedia

Note: I can't help wondering how the exceptional weather of 1947 will be recorded in Fred's diary; your editor doesn't read ahead, other than scheduling these entries a few days in advance. It's not giving the game away, as we now know now that later this winter, 1946-47, was the coldest winter in the UK for three centuries. "There were massive disruptions of the energy supply for homes, offices and factories. Animal herds froze or starved to death. No one could keep warm, and many businesses shut down temporarily. When warm weather returned, the ice thawed and flooding was severe..." -

16 June 2016

30th-31st Dec 1946: "the scourge of shortage"

"The fat ration is one ounce per person per week! 
Prices of commodities are still rising and money is losing its value. "

30 Mon. Cold morning and night, a little sunshine midday; thick fog at night. To Morden to buy cats meat and a gas mantle. I fitted the latter. The three children called, Gwennie bringing her doll to show me. She left it here by mistake so I walked down the street with it in my arms to take it back to “mother”.

31 Tues. Cold, dull, but a little sunshine midday; freezing at night. Bought a nice cod fillet for dinner as well as some cats’ pieces. Took accumulator and got a paper in afternoon. The three children called and Gwennie, Laurie and I played dominoes – Sebastopol. The first time they have played but they played well and Laurie won, Gwennie second and me a bad last. The game was played quite seriously and no chances given. And so 1946 ends. There is much to thank God for although there is still so much to be done to remove the scourge of shortage. The fat ration is one ounce per person per week! Prices of commodities are still rising and money is losing its value. 1946 weather was the worst I can remember with a minimum sunshine and maximum rainfall and never can I remember so much wind. Let us hope 1947 will be better; it surely must be. God will give us grace and strength to bear whatever the future has in store.

"the scourge of shortage"

15 June 2016

28th-29th Dec 1946: presents, repairs and peas

28 Sat. Rather cold becoming rather mild, dull. To butchers in morning also to buy sweets and to pay for the papers. In afternoon to Wimbledon to buy fish, also an iron angle plate to repair the damaged front door. Also some purchases locally. Several children of the road showed me their Xmas presents. Aunt Liza brought some giblet soup and some peas.

29 Sun. Cold, thick fog developing midday but clearing at night. Cousin Alf and Lily unexpectedly to tea also Mrs. Akroyd. Edie Bennett called but Ciss was out. John Child called. Tuned in America on the short waves to show Alf. Played the organ to him.

14 June 2016

27th Dec 1946: turkey's carcase for cats... but

27 Fri. Rather cold, dull, rain later. Gwennie & Laurie brought some beef pieces and the turkey’s carcase – for the cats: I cleaned up the turkey myself - too good for cats. To Wimbledon in afternoon. Called at 34 to see the children’s Xmas presents. Connie Freeman told me she stayed awake on Xmas Eve to see Father Xmas bring her presents – and she did! He was dressed in red and brought her a lot of nice presents which he put in a pillow case hung at the foot of her bed for that purpose.

13 June 2016

26th Dec 1946: Christmas fare

26 Thur. Boxing Day. Rather mild for season: some bright sunshine in morning, showers later. Gwennie & Laurie called in afternoon, gave them cake, ginger wine, chocolates and grapes. Short walk, met cousin Maud so walked back with her. Fitted new type flexible surround to moving coil speaker. It seems promising. Ciss went to Tolworth and brought back a cut of chicken with stuffing for me.

12 June 2016

25th Dec 1946: kids' first taste of turkey

"the front room had a fire in it "

25 Wed. Christmas Day. Mild for the season; very dull, rain later. Cousin Maud and Laurie called. They were going for a little walk before dinner, to get an appetite. This is a memorable dinner for Gwennie, Laurie and Donald as they are to taste turkey for the first time to-day. Mrs, Child sent me a pair of thick woolly gloves she had knitted – wasn’t that kind of her. Ciss & I had Christmas to ourselves. We played dominoes and the spelling bee card game. I also played Beethoven as the front room had a fire in it so it gave me the rare chance - in the winter to have a tune up.

11 June 2016

24th Dec 1946: Chritmas Eve saw me housework

24 Tues. Christmas Eve. Very cold, dull, frost at night. To Morden to buy fish and cats meat. Gwennie called in afternoon and saw me clean some windows and wash the living room floor. Showed her the Xmas cake. Took the icing appliance to Doris as she wanted it to do her cakes – Chas did them actually. Put up some decorations in living and sitting rooms. Went in to Mrs. Veale’s to take the clown’s face toy for Dennis.

10 June 2016

23rd Dec 1946: a little extra meat ration for Xmas

23 Mon. Very cold, dull, rain at night. Wrote letter to Capt. Marshall. Got the groceries two days earlier as Xmas day is on Wed, the day I usually get them. Got the Xmas meat to-day a nice piece of pork and a little extra is allowed on top of the usual ration. Bought a set of three tee-to-turn tops. Also a comic clown’s head which you shoot at with a wooden shot on a piece of elastic. Decorated the Xmas cake with a star and a motto in pink icing on a white ground.

9 June 2016

21st-22nd Dec 1946: £1 cheque for Xmas, from army captain in Germany

21 Sat. 12 degrees below freezing, 9 midday. Very severe weather, dull, misty but little wind. The three children called bringing some useful presents from their mother. Aunt Hannah called. Trudged through the cruel weather to Merton to buy cats meat & fish. Also something at the chemists. Bought some silver tinsel stars for decorations locally. A kind letter from Capt Marshall in Germany enclosing a cheque on Lloyds’ Bank for £1.

22 Sun. The temperature rose from 4 degrees below freezing to eleven degrees above. The snow vanished by midday: very dull with rain commencing in evening. Some children called also John Child. Mrs. Akroyd brought some presents. Ciss took the presents for the children to Doris.

8 June 2016

19th-20th Dec 1946: slippery slopes to grave, in snow!

19 Thur. Very cold but just above freezing point. The wind has dropped; very dismal, snow most of the day – 1½ ins. A few purchases locally but tried in vain to get paraffin. Posted some Xmas cards including one to Anthony with a robin redbreast on the front. Bought a nice holly wreath for dear Mother’s grave.

20 Fri. Severe frost all day except for a short while where the sun shone midday. The roads and footways are as dangerously slippery as I have seen. Did the shopping in morning, quite a lot of it including buying a comical toy for Donald. Took the wreath to dear Mother’s grave in afternoon. Had a struggle to get there owing to the slippery paths. I only saved myself from falling many times by using extreme caution. Once I thought I was going on my back but recovered just in time.

7 June 2016

18 Dec '46

18 Wed. Sharp white frost, fairly clear: the E wind is like a knife. Cycled to Morden in the face of a Siberian wind to buy cats meat. Got the groceries locally and to buy postal orders. Gwennie & Donald called with some meat for the cats.

6 June 2016

17 Dec '46

17 Tues. Not quite so cold as yesterday but the hard frost continues: the E wind is even worse. To butchers and post-office locally, to Morden to buy fish in the face of the icy blast: it really was terrible riding a bike in it. Dear Gwennie brought a loaf. Oh she was jolly: I quite forgot the discomfort of the bleak weather while she was here!

5 June 2016

16 Dec '46

16 Mon. Hard frost; 4 degrees below midday: fairly clear, bitter E wind blowing half a gale. Bought fish, a cake and got the accumulator locally. Ciss went to see Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie at Westminster, they sent me a couple of cakes.

4 June 2016

14th-15th Dec 1946: a thrill at Kennard's

14 Sat. Frost less severe; very cold, dull, misty day. To butchers in morning. To Merton & Morden in afternoon. Bought cats meat and fish. Alb, Lily and Anthony called midday on their way to Kennard’s, Wimbledon to see the Xmas display. Took a note to Mrs. Akroyd.

15 Sun. Black frost, very cold, clear day: bitter E wind. Connie, Clifford and Ann called. Later Peter Child brought the “Boro News” in exchange for the “Methodist Recorder”.

3 June 2016

13th Dec 1946: locked myself out

13 Fri. Severe hoar frost which did not yield all day; very foggy especially morning and night. To butchers: got veal this week. Bought tinned Irish stew: potted fish and a bottle of thick sauce locally. Also bought fish, paid the newsagent and bought some sweets. Then discovered I had come out without my key. Went to Aunt Liza’s borrowed a screwdriver, hammer and pliers. The back door I bolted before I came out. Asked next door to be let through. Borrowed their steps and after 20 mins. work took the glass out of the fanlight above the back door. Then put my hand through and slid back the bolt. All in a thick fog and several degrees of frost. It was 4 oclock before I had my midday dinner.

2 June 2016

11th-12th Dec 1946: first demerara sugar for years

11 Wed. Very cold, very dull, rain all day. To groceries where I spent 12/- on goods: got some Demerara sugars first time for years. To Morden to buys cats meat. Cooked the Xmas puddings. Laurie brought some meat for the cats: gave him a spring pistol which took his fancy. Wrote letter to Capt. Marshall which I shall post tomorrow: he is in Germany.

12 Thur. Severe frost which yielded to sunshine midday: very dull, thick fog later. Bought silver foil for decorations. To Mrs. Child in afternoon: she has four decorators at work – very convenient I must say just before Xmas, and the dog has got four puppies. The wireless would not work so I attached a temporary aerial. Also the gramophone was said to be screechy: I don’t wonder, it was running at a breakneck speed: I slowed it to 80 revs a minute and it was quite all right. Ciss had a day off to do some shopping which she did in the morning in Wimbledon.

Note: demerara and so-called "raw" sugars are made from crystallized, partially evaporated sugar cane juice, and spun in a centrifuge...

1 June 2016

9th-10th Dec 1946: food rationing still... bread

9 Mon. Cold, very dull but no rain for a change. Only as far as the local fish shop. Finished the Celestion output transformer and tested O.K.

10 Tues. White frost, very cold day. Dismal later with thick fog. Bought fish in Coombe Lane in morning and a paper at the station. To 34 to get the loaf from Doris she gets a bigger bread ration than she needs and we get less. Saw the three children all sitting at table having tea looking very correct and good-mannered.