The London Central Meat Company, North Street, Leighton Buzzard c.1910 [Z1306/72/12/11]
Tuesday 29th January 1918: Obtaining supplies of basic foods continues to be an issue in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade. Only about a dozen cattle and eight sheep were sent to Leighton Market last Tuesday, which were nowhere near enough to meet demand from local butchers. Most had sold out by Friday evening, and those customers who usually buy joints on Saturday night were left without meat for Sunday’s dinner. Butchers have been forced to accept sheep allocated to them even when the animals were in such poor condition that the meat was sold at a loss – one complained he had been allotted a sheep which was “giddy, heavy in lamb and had a bad liver”, which had caused him to suffer a net loss of nearly six shillings after butchering and delivery. It seems meatless days are now becoming compulsory, not voluntary. A Hockliffe butcher was told by one of his customers: “Meatless days! We have five every week; don’t talk about them.”
The margarine and butter “famine” is still acute, and last week many households were unable to obtain any supplies. The Leighton Buzzard Food Control Committee rationing scheme comes into force this week, but it cannot guarantee supplies to those with coupons, although it should make the distribution of what is available fairer. The Food Control Committee for Linslade and the Eaton Bray and Wing rural districts was fortunate last week in obtaining a two ounce butter ration for every resident, which was delivered through local grocers on Friday and Saturday. It hopes that this distribution will be repeated in future.
The collapse of the milk delivery strike which began nearly two months ago has given some relief to the people of Leighton. The novelty of fetching the morning milk soon wore off, and “mistresses who had to make daily journeys to the milk shop because their servants refused to go have been heard to threaten never to have the same milkman again”. One of the “strikers” said they had agreed to resume deliveries because the position had become impossible, though they complained of the injustice of the Leighton Food Committee who had bowed to the demands of butchers but would not meet with the milk dealers. Although the strike has ended problems remain. Milk supplies are still inadequate to meet demand, and in Linslade there are complaints from customers paying 7d a quart for their milk deliveries who are aggrieved that they are having to pay more than customers of the same retailers who happen to live in Leighton.
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 29th January 1918