British Restaurants were Communal Kitchens
created in 1940.
These were to help people who had been bombed out of their homes, or
who had run out of ration coupons or otherwise needed assistance.
These were originally called 'Community
Feeding Centres', but Prime Minister Winston Churchill considerd the
name degrading and so they were renamed the British Restaurants.
They were set up by the Ministry of Food
and run by local government or voluntary agencies on a non-profit basis.
No one could be served with a meal of more than one serving of meat,
game, poultry, fish, eggs, or cheese. Standards varied, but the best
was greatly appreciated and had a large regular clientele. British Restaurants
were open to all, rich or poor.
In 1943, 2,160 British Restaurants served
600,000 meals set at a maximum price of 9d.
In March 1939, the WI was asked by the Local Authority to assist in
the running of a Communal Kitchen to cater for the evacuees. All the
necessary equipment would be supplied by the Government, but staffing
was down to the WI.
However, the newly formed Women`s Voluntary Service(WVS) was then given
the task of looking after the children. The Local Authority then wrote
back to the WI, saying their services were no longer required, but the
WI we not deterred and paid for the children`s food out of their own
Finally, the British Restaurant in Bures was opened in November 1941
at the rear of the Angel Inn, opposite Chambers Garage and staffed by
They were finally disbanded in 1947 when
food was becoming more available.
Then came along the 1944 Education Act, which compelled Schools to provide
school meals, without warning the school were in breach of the Act.
It was then decided to retain the British Restaurant under the control
of the Local Education Authority.
Two cooks were appointed to run the facility, namely Mrs Gage and Mrs
Keeble and so all the children from Bures School who could now enjoy
a nourishing meal for 5d per day.
In September 1947, work commenced to build a new dining room and kitchen,
but due to unforeseen delays these were not fully operational until
September 20th 1939, so it's possible the LEA run British Restaurant
didn't close until the end of the Summer Term 1949.