A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


Copy No. 273

The aim of this Report is to present an impartial assessment of public feeling about the war and the war effort. It is not a record of fact , except in so far as public opinion is itself a fact. The public is sometimes ill-informed, prejudiced, or inconsistent. The recording of such feelings without comment implies no endorsement of them.

The public is more prone to criticise than to praise. Good work or efficiency is usually taken for granted. An accurate record of expressed feeling will, therefore, tend to be critical rather than laudatory.

The method of compiling the Report is such that the amount of space devoted to each subject, and the order in which subjects are placed, are roughly indicative of the amount of public interest each is arousing. The omission of a subject from the Report means that it is not a matter of widespread comment.

In assessing the state of public feeling there are no absolutes. Findings can only be comparative. Each issue of this Report must therefore be read as part of a continuous series. Unless the series is seen as a whole, the significance of fluctuations in feeling cannot be appreciated.

The figures in brackets at the end of each section refer to sources of information, a list of which is given on the next page. The weekly reports from Regional Information Officers (R.I.Os.) are compiled by the Regional Intelligence Officers from a large number of sources. Details of the methods of compilation and cross-checking are contained in a paper on “How the Home Intelligence Weekly Report is made”. This will be supplied on request to the Home Intelligence Division of the Ministry of Information.



407 409 3 410 4 411 5 413 7 415 9 416 10 417 11 418 12


No. 125 25th February, 1943

(Covering the period 16th to 23rd February, 1943)


1. General state of confidence and reaction to news

Russian successes and, to a lesser extent, anticipation of an early British and American offensive in Europe have helped to maintain public confidence on a high level. But it is slightly lower than last week, as a result of:

  1. The Axis successes in Tunisia. Some uneasiness about the situation is, however, linked with “malicious pleasure that the Americans are learning that ‘it's not so easy’”.

  2. Disappointment at what is believed to be the Government's attitude to the Beveridge Report.

  3. Mr. Churchill's illness.

There is less reference than recently to expectation of early victory, and rather more talk of difficulties on the Home Front and war weariness. People are said “to be accepting hardships, and wanting to go all out in order to get on with the war and to get it over”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. No report from Region 8 this week.)

2. North Africa

Although there is disappointment over the reverses in Tunisia, particularly at “the loss of three forward airfields”, people appear “to be chiefly anxious lest the Axis successes delay our whole programme for a big offensive”. They are also wondering: “What is Stalin thinking of the Tunisian show?” Faith in the Eighth Army - “ they can look Russia in the face” - is responsible for “every confidence in the ultimate outcome”.

The most marked reaction, however, has been satisfaction, going as far as jubilation in some cases, at “the American set-back” (Nine Regions). “As long as it's not too disastrous for our First Army, and doesn't last too long”, it is felt that “getting a few knocks will have done the Americans good by teaching them some salutary lessons” (Eleven Regions):

  1. “It will take them down a peg; they shouted so much about the help they would give.”

  2. “They'll be less inclined to criticise our boys,”......“Who called us the Tobruk Harriers?”

  3. It will show them the need for discipline and “will make them into a decent fighting force for the stiff fight ahead”.

At the same time, according to reports from five Regions, while there is some criticism of the fighting quality of the American troops, people are “ready to make allowances for them because of their lack of battle experience. It is understandable they should not show up well against Rommel's seasoned troops.” It is, however, regretted that “they have not been able to profit from our own ordeals but should have to start where we started”.

Two reports mention some apprehension as to where this spirit of criticism of the Americans may lead.

General Eisenhower : It is suggested that the retreat in Tunisia has increased doubts about the appointment of General Eisenhower as Commander-in-Chief in Africa. Reasons for this feeling are said to be:

  1. Our own generals are tried and successful and have been put under him (Five Regions).

  2. He is inexperienced (Four Regions).

  3. He is almost completely unknown (Two Regions). It is suggested that people should be told more about him.

Some hope is, however, expressed in two reports that “General Eisenhower is a figurehead”, and that “as General Alexander is in actual command of the men nothing serious can go wrong”.

The political situation : There is much less discussion, but still some uneasiness. The release of political prisoners, however, and the passage of French naval vessels to the United States are taken as signs of “some improvement”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)

3. First reactions to the House of Commons Debate on the Beveridge Report

The debate seems to have been eagerly awaited and to have aroused much interest. At present, however, a confused state of public feeling is reflected in most reports. With the exception of one reference to Mr. Quintin Hogg, the speeches of the three Government spokesmen are the only ones referred to, and it seems clear that the whole debate has not been studied in detail. The great majority appear “more inclined to judge the Government's attitude to the scheme than to take its proposals one by one and to compare them with the recommendations of the report”. (There is, for example, no reference in any report to children's allowances.)

Many feel that “the presentation of the Government's case was mishandled”, and that it was this rather than their failure to adopt the report as a whole, which caused disappointment. Mr. Morrison's speech has, however, been generally praised.

With reference to what are believed to be the Government's intentions regarding the report, the public seem to fall into two main groups - a large disappointed majority and an approving minority. This is apart from a considerable number of people who are not interested, or who say: “Let's get the war over first”.

A. The disappointed majority : Though reports vary, the majority seems to include “the working classes”, Liberals, Labour and the Left, a proportion of the middle classes and, according to three reports, a number of the rank and file of the Conservative Party. The majority are said to be disappointed, cynical or angry because:

  1. The Government is thought to be trying to kill or shelve the Report, and is thought to have “whittled down the expected benefits and to have promised little or nothing” (Ten Regions).

  2. This is “a forecast of what we may expect when the war is over”. The Government's attitude “augurs ill for the future of social security”, and has “crystallised people's worst fears of the post-war period”. The opposition to the Catering Bill was another “straw in the wind”. (Nine Regions).

  3. “Vested interests have won again” and are “at work to ensure that things will remain as they did after the last war” (Six Regions).

  4. The Beveridge Report is “a symbol, not only to us but to the whole world”, and it is feared that the Government does not realise that it “has become a religion to some people”. By such, the Report seems to be regarded as sacrosanct, “like the Ark of the Covenant”, quite apart from the actual benefits it promises (Four Regions).

  5. “The Government's failure to set up a Ministry of Social Security” is regretted, and is taken by some as “perhaps the most definite evidence that the Government intends to mark time” (Four Regions).

B. The approving minority are said to sympathise with the Government's attitude, because:

  1. Finance ought to be taken into consideration (Five Regions).

  2. “Socialist extremists are making capital out of their present opportunities.” “Why are these controversial subjects allowed to be brought up by the Socialist Party?” (Four Regions).

  3. The Government is right not to be rushed into hasty decisions now, since we cannot know what conditions will be like after the war (Three Regions). “It is wise not to raise false hopes.”

  4. Controversial legislation must be avoided now, lest it “split the country, and make us lose the war”. (Even many of those who are dissatisfied with the Government's attitude are anxious that nothing should threaten national unity.)

  5. The Government has conceded a good deal (Two Regions), and “can be compelled by public feeling to go even further”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)

4. The Prime Minister's illness

“Very real concern” over the Prime Minister's illness is widespread. “His illness is connected with the strain of his travels”, and it is felt that “he has worn himself out on our behalf”. Reports from six Regions refer to his “indispensability”.... “what a calamity if anything happened to him:” “He is irreplaceable - if he's out of it, we're done.” Fears that he may be more seriously ill than the public realise are mentioned in one report.

(1. 4. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12.)

5. Russia

Although Russia's “magnificent achievements” continue to arouse “boundless” admiration, discussion of them has taken third place to Tunis and the Beveridge debate. Reactions are on familiar lines:

  1. “How far will they get?” Few people now expect the Germans to be able to stage a comeback in the Spring.

  2. Embarrassment that we are still not yet doing enough for Russia, and a continued desire for all possible help to be sent to her. The opening of a second front in Europe this Spring by us and the Americans is particularly hoped for, and confidently expected.

  3. Will Russia make a separate peace, or “go so far and then stop and hold the Germans, and tell us to get on with it?”

  4. Uneasiness that “if Russia goes on like this, she may want to dictate the peace terms”. On the other hand, “a leaning towards the ideals of Communism” is also reported.

Red Army Day : The celebrations in Great Britain appear to have been “greatly enjoyed”.... “a fitting sign of our feelings for the Red Army”. Although some people believe it was “all done with our tongue in our cheek”, the majority appear to feel “it has done much to dissipate a suspicion that the alliance between Britain and Russia was artificial”. There has been some amused comment at seeing Red flags hanging where not so long ago it would never have been thought possible.

Individual speeches are little mentioned, but many Scots people considered the broadcasts from London “to be hysterical in tone and reminiscent of Nuremberg”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 21 fourteen provincial P.Cs.)

6. The Far East

Gandhi's fast : There appears to be little sympathy with Gandhi - “it's entirely his own choice”, and “let him die and good riddance” are the most widespread sentiments. Although it is again suggested that “with Gandhi out of the way, there might be some chance of negotiating with other Indian leaders”, the opinion of more thoughtful people is that “Gandhi dead and a martyr” may cause more difficulty in India than Gandhi living. On the other hand, it is thought his release would soon bring trouble. “Thank goodness, it's not for me to decide” is the final summing up.

Madame Chiang Kai-Shek's statements in the United States (18th and 19th February) have increased both sympathy and anxiety for China. While “President Roosevelt's promise of more aid” has been welcomed, it is also asked “why has there been so little lease-lend to China?” It is suspected that “it'll take years to drive the Japs from the South Pacific”.

(1. 2. 4. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)

7. The war at sea

More confidence, and with this some decline in interest, in the shipping situation is reported as a result of the Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons (11th February). “People know more where we stand now.” The demand for the publication of shipping losses is much abated.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 10. 11. 13. 21 six provincial P.Cs.)

8. R.A.F. raids

“Steady interest” in the R.A.F. bombings is reported from seven Regions; according to one Report “a night without bombing, is like a meal missed”. The continued bombing of U-boat bases - particularly the raid on Wilhelmshaven - is specially praised, but the demand that “Rome shall not escape” is reported again from three Regions.

(1. 2. 4. 7. 10. 11. 12. 21 two provincial P.Cs.)

9. Broadcasting and presentation of news

Again this week no general criticisms of news presentation are reported.

The American reverses are thought to have been “handled with skill and restraint by both press and radio” (Two Regions), though “The Scotsman” of 23rd February is considered to have been “rather malicious” for using heavy type in stating that “The Americans were out-manoeuvred and out-fought”. The references to “straightening our line” led to criticism of the usual type.

The B.B.C. summaries of the Beveridge debate are praised, in one report, as “balanced and objective”.

War correspondents' reports would, it is again said, be preferred by some if they were read by the announcer, as “the reception is so poor at times” (One Region).

Mr. Casey's Postscript (14th February) was praised for its defence of the British Empire which - like other recent speeches on similar lines - was thought to be intended for American consumption (Four Regions). Some people in Northern Ireland, however, ask: “What is meant by nations giving up part of their nationalism?” They are “suspicious of any proposal that appears to cut across national sovereignty”.

Praise is reported for the European News Service, “Into Battle”, and the talk about the convoy to Russia (20th February).

Regret for “ITMA” and Alvar Liddell.

Criticism of the “dull B.B.C. entertainment programmes”, of the Brains Trust (which is “going down in popularity”), and of the “disappointing Postscripts”.

Desire for “light entertainment as a change from the war”, good light music, and more straight plays.

(1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13)


10. Manpower

Comment continues on familiar lines. The manpower situation is still reported to be “in the forefront of home news”. Complaints reported are: (a) the alleged “waste of man and womanpower” when workers are directed into “less skilled” or “less useful” work (Four Regions); (b) the number of young people “lurking in soft jobs” (Four Regions); (c) shortage of labour and fears about the further effects of the call-up on the staffing of civilian services (Four Regions); (d) transfer of labour, which is often considered “wasteful and unnecessary” (Three Regions); (e) hardships caused to small traders by the call-up (Two Regions).

Comments on the call-up of married women include complaints of: (a) “unsympathetic treatment” by Labour Exchange officials and by the personnel of Hardship Tribunals (Three Regions); and (b) the number of young women - especially officers' wives - still evading work of any kind (Three Regions). “Bewilderment by those affected by the regulation” is reported from two Regions, in one of which Citizens' Advice Bureaux are said to be “inundated with inquiries on this score”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 9. 10. 21 four provincial P.Cs.)

11. Industry

Very little comment on production is reported this week. “People are, for the most part, reported to be working well”, though familiar complaints of shopping difficulties (Three Regions), slackness and idle time (Two Regions), and long hours (One Region) are again mentioned.

(1. 3. 4. 7. 9. 10. 21 one provincial P.C.)

12. Transport and petrol

Transport difficulties are reported from eight Regions. Complaints are: long queues; long distance passengers being crowded out by short distance fares; inadequate bus services; long distances between stops in rural areas; and increasing overcrowding and delays on railways. One report suggests that “many difficulties could be removed by schooling the public to understand the problem better and to observe queuing and other regulations”. The same report mentions the hope that women may be “brought on as part-time workers, as the shift system on buses is thought to be particularly suitable for part-time employment”.

Petrol : Five Regions report complaints of waste of petrol. “Seventeen W.V.S. cars outside a hall for an A.R.P. show produced extremely strong local comments.” The use of taxis to take spectators to football grounds and greyhound tracks, the waste of petrol by farmers, and the use of cars by local Government officials when buses and trains serve the area are all mentioned; at the same time “it is felt that Government servants do most of their journeys on foot and are playing their part in petrol economy”. There is criticism of the use of large cars to transport military officers of high rank, and of the “waste of both time and petrol” by army “L” drivers driving about for practice in empty lorries. It is felt “these might be used for the transport of salvage, particularly in rural areas where dumps of various kinds are accumulating”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10. 11)

13. The V.D. campaign

Three reports indicate that the campaign is approved, and the advertisements welcomed - though some feel that they could be made even stronger. It is also thought some reference should be made in the advertisement to “the consumption of alcohol as a contributing factor”. It is thought, too, that attention should be drawn to “the responsibility of parents for educating their children in matters of this sort”. “John Hilton's V.D. broadcast” (19th January) is still the subject of favourable comment.

(1. 2. 4. 7. 9. 10)

14. Clothing

Difficulties in managing on the coupon allowance now that former clothes are worn out are reported from four Regions this week. Those who can afford to buy expensive and lasting clothing, or who had good stocks, are said to have a great advantage over the poorer people who can only afford “shoddy” goods which need constant replacement. Men are said to find the issue of coupons insufficient; if any outer garments are bought no coupons remain for necessary underwear.

Coupons for household goods : The demand for a special allocation of coupons for household goods continues (Six Regions). Two Regions report feeling that newly married people should be allowed extra clothing coupons now that coupons are required for towels. Complaints of the shortage and high price of household linen are reported from four Regions.

Utility stockings : There are again complaints of the poor quality of utility stockings (Four Regions).

Shoe repairs : Difficulties experienced in getting shoe repairs done are reported from four Regions. The inability of shoemakers to secure sufficient leather to carry out repairs, the poor quality of the leather used, and the bad workmanship on patched shoes which are not watertight are commented on.

Children's clothing and footwear : The shortage, poor quality, and high price of children's clothing and footwear are reported from three Regions. Absence (now called “absenteeism”) from school due to the fact that many mothers have no coupons left for shoes is reported from the London Region.

Rubber boots : The shortage of rubber boots for farm workers and children is reported from three Regions. Agricultural workers complain that although they hold permits they cannot get the boots, and that Italian prisoners have them.

Clothing coupons : Planning ahead is said to be difficult unless the Government say how long coupons are to last, and some vagueness about the length of availability of the new clothing coupons is reported. A rumour current in the London Region is “that the green clothing coupons are to expire shortly”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 21 two provincial P.Cs.)

15. Utility furniture

Various references to utility furniture made during the past five weeks may be summarised as follows:

  1. Considerable disappointment at the high prices (Three Regions). “Utility furniture is said to be too expensive for young people getting married.” One C.A.B. has found that “a number of people expect a permit for utility furniture to entitle them to furniture free of charge”.

  2. Comment on the limited amount of furniture available (Three Regions). “Some people have expressed astonishment over having obtained the necessary permits only to find there is no furniture available.”

  3. Adverse criticism of “complicated procedure necessary” for obtaining a permit (One Region).

  4. “People do not seem to want it”; “they have the idea it is not going to be very good or of lasting quality, e.g. green and shoddy woods” (One Region).

  5. The public would “welcome greater smartness of design” (One Region).

  6. Secretaries of C.A.Bs. report “active interest”, and add that “general approval is expressed by people who examine the illustrated catalogue” (One Region).

The high price of other furniture, both new and secondhand is remarked on in four reports. “Dealers are considered to be taking it out of people who have been bombed and must have furniture”, and it is suggested that “many people are buying to store, hoping for a big demand in the future”.

(2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 12)

16. Food

Praise for the food situation continues to be reported (Seven Regions and Postal Censorship). “The Food control people are the best of the bunch and have done their job well for the nation.” At the same time, four Regional reports mention difficulties of small families and those living alone who are “having the worst of it and finding rations sparse”. There is also some complaint of monotony (Three Regions). Two reports refer this week to the difficulty of feeding heavy workers on the allotted ration.

Fish : The shortage of fish is again a major topic (Ten Regions). “Fish is still short and queues for it still long.” One Region reports “slightly better supplies lately”. Complaints of “under the counter trade”, preference given to telephone orders, and “the favoured customer” are again made (Six Regions).

Eggs : A shortage of shell eggs is mentioned in four reports. “Uncollected eggs” are said to be causing criticism in some North Midland Region rural areas where it is said that “farmers' wives have to fill every available box, and it is three or four weeks before the overworked collector is able to call”.

Green vegetables : The high price of green vegetables is again criticised (Four Regions), and it is said that “many shopkeepers include excess leaves, stalk etc.”

Milk : Complaints of uneven distribution are again made (Three Regions); “Ten pints were delivered at one household of two in three days while a neighbour had none”. The difficulty of getting T.T. milk is reported, and the “dirtiness of milk” in one district is said to be “causing concern”. A black market among recipients of priority milk is mentioned at Burton-on-Trent.

Tinned fruits : It is asked why canned rhubarb should remain on points when fresh rhubarb can be bought, and it is thought a “waste of cans” to preserve rhubarb and prunes which are so easy to obtain. It is said that some “multiple stores have gained an unfair advantage in obtaining certain canned fruits from their headquarters in London”.

Waste of food : Three reports refer to “waste of food”, (especially bread), in restaurants and cafes, by those who feed it to chickens, and on aerodromes sites; “All the pigs in the neighbourhood are well fed by the ‘drome’.”

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 21 thirteen provincial P.Cs.)

17. Agriculture

The ban on sending out flowers by rail or post is commented on in three reports. In the South Western Region, it is both commended and criticised. The better type of grower is said to have regarded the “suit case traffic” with strong disapproval, whereas some farmers feel that the Government has let them down over the flower scheme. Two Regions report indignation and disappointment that flowers can no longer be sent to friends, hospitals etc. because the practice has been abused by the unscrupulous. The high price of flowers is also criticised.

Houses for farm workers : Dissatisfaction at the small number of cottages allotted to Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire is mentioned. The conviction that until there has been more improvement in the housing position, there will never be any prospect of real solid extra labour on the land, is reported from North Wiltshire.

Seeds and fertilisers : The shortage and price of these are commented on in two reports. Complaints at the difference in retail and wholesale prices are reported, and it is suggested that something should be done to regulate or control these prices.

“Dig for Victory” campaign : Comment on the “Dig for Victory” campaign comes from the Midland Region: “It's all very fine for the Government to tell us to grow our own vegetables - we haven't any time to do more”. The Northern Region reports that the agricultural film “Diggers for Victory” is thought to be good, but it is pointed out that nowhere in the film did it state prominently where the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries “Cropping” leaflet could be obtained.

(1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 9)

18. Fuel

Again this week there is little comment about fuel economy. People are still thought to be doing their best, though in one Region it is said that the “pat on the back” which the public received for fuel saving was unwise, as it tended to make people relax their efforts. The longer days are said to be welcomed by housewives as they can now save on artificial light.

Complaints continue about the poor quality of coal, Welsh coal being particularly mentioned in two reports. A shortage of coal is referred to in two Regions.

Coal merchants in the South Eastern Region are complaining that they are asked to deliver coal weekly to customers on an impossible ration of petrol. The distance of the railway station from the depot and the customers does not, it is said, seem to have been taken into account.

(1. 2. 3. 7. 10. 11. 12. 13. 21 two provincial P.Cs.)

19. Youth

During the past five weeks, there have been several references to youth problems. Chief among these are the increase in drunkenness which is alleged to be due to the high wages being earned by juveniles, and the lack of recreational facilities; the increase in immoral behaviour, also said to be due to lack of recreational facilities; and the ineffectiveness of Youth Movements, which are said not to be running too satisfactorily, as they are insufficiently educational in character and the leaders are not sufficiently good disciplinarians.

Juvenile crime is also said to be causing anxiety. This is thought to be due largely to lack of parental control and discipline, fathers being in the Forces and mothers out at work.

(3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10. 12. 21 one provincial P.C.)

20. Shortage of batteries and cyclists' difficulties

Complaints of shortages of cycle lamp and torch batteries are reported this week from nine and seven Regions respectively. The efforts of the Government to remedy the shortage are said to be appreciated, though the public is asking when the new supplies of batteries are to be released. It is asked in the Northern Region why a standard size in torch cases and batteries is not introduced.

Complaints are reported in the Southern Region that different magistrates take opposite decisions when people are charged with riding without lights. Some impose fines and others decide they cannot fine people for technical offences for which they are not really responsible. The shortage of bicycle bells is reported from the South Western Region. It is said “that as new cycles are not sold with bells and they can't be bought separately people run the risk of ‘being run in’ for cycling without bells as well as without lights”.

(1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 10)

21. Income tax and post-war credits

During the past three weeks, four references have been made to lack of faith in the repayment of post-war credits - especially among workers. Grumbles about paying income tax, and refusal by cotton mill workers to work overtime because of income tax is reported constantly from the North Western Region.

(3. 5. 9. 10)

22. National Savings campaign

During the last fortnight further appreciative comment on the “Squander Bug” advertisements has been reported - “it makes people think twice before spending”. During this period there have also been references to: (a) people holding back from buying Savings Certificates because of “lack of faith in the Government's post-war standing”, and (b) “wastage of material” on aerodrome sites, preventing building workers from joining Savings Groups (One Region each). On the other hand, in one report “the better news” is said to have been responsible for a great increase in National Savings during January.

(1. 3. 8)


Children's Clothing Exchanges

In view of the repeated reference in these Reports to complaints of the shortage of children's clothing and footwear, a note on the Children's Clothing Exchanges, which have been started by the W.V.S. in many parts of the country, may be of interest.

In the Eastern Region, where six exchanges are already functioning, (and eight more are about to be opened), our Intelligence Officer has visited these at Cambridge and Wisbech.

The exchanges are open usually one morning a week, coinciding, if possible, with market day, “when outlying villages have buses into the town”.

Initial stocks are formed from gifts.

Type of Clothing : Only children's clothing is handled and stress is laid on the fact that it is outgrown , and not outworn, articles that are needed. The clothing at the exchanges visited was “of a good standard, the customers being almost entirely of the very respectable wage-earning class”. Those who bring dirty or ragged garments “are tactfully informed that only clean clothing in good repair will be accepted”. Customers are said to have “taken refusals in good part, and, in some cases, when disreputable clothing has been rejected one week, they have brought good quality the next”.

Method of Exchange : No money passes. Each article brought in is “pointed” according to its quality, condition, size, and whether it is woollen or not, and also according to local demand -- shoes being in greater demand in some places than in others. There is no fixed scale of points: “generally a range of 0 - 20 or 0 - 40 is taken” and the pointing is done according to “intuitive assessment”, a “method” which is said in practice to work well. When the garment has been pointed, it is labelled with its value, and then put into store. The customer is given a voucher for the points value and may exchange this for clothing there and then, or may bring it back and exchange it another day - but only at the same exchange, as the “pointing” may vary with each exchange.

All types of clothing may be freely exchanged, except Wellingtons, the stipulation being made that Wellingtons can only be obtained by those who have brought a pair in.

Records are kept:

  1. “so that if a customer wants a garment of a particular size or kind not at present in stock, this may be noted and, if possible, a suitable garment reserved for her as soon as one is received”.

  2. “to show the expansion of each exchange, the total number of visits paid, and the total number of actual customers who use it”.

Advertising has been “on similar lines in each town”. In Cambridge, for example, there was:

  1. Advance publicity , consisting of “a few posters through the towns”, one small advertisement in the local Press, and a “write up” on the opening day. This brought in approximately 230 customers during the following three months, many of whom paid return visits.

  2. Subsequent publicity is thought to be necessary “to overcome slight reluctance to venture on an Exchange for the first time”, particularly as “word of mouth publicity” has been the means of informing only a small percentage of housewives. A slide in local cinemas is being tried.

Finance : “The cost is borne by the W.V.S. So far, rooms have been given rent-free, but this will not necessarily continue and the W.V.S. has no funds for the purpose.” Present running expenses are said, however, to be “very low - a few pounds for token cards, registers, record book, etc. as an initial outlay, and after that only a few shillings for further supplies”. The cost of advertising has also had to be met.

General reactions : “The scheme has been greatly praised” by those who have used it, and who “formerly found it difficult to clothe a child adequately” on the available number of coupons and the limited range of sizes and garments.



1. Northern Region (Newcastle) Weekly Reports from R.I.Os.
2. North Eastern Region (Leeds)
3. North Midland Region (Nottingham)
4. Eastern Region (Cambridge)
5. London Region (London)
6. Southern Region (Reading)
7. South Western Region (Bristol)
8. Wales (Cardiff)
9. Midland (Birmingham)
10. North Western Region (Manchester)
11. Scotland (Edinburgh)
12. South Eastern Region (Tunbridge Wells)
13. Northern Ireland (Belfast)
14. Special Reports from R.I.Os.
15. Regions Adviser's Reports
16. M.O.I. Speakers' Reports
17. Local Information Committees' Reports
18. Home Press Summaries M.O.I.
19. Regional Press Summaries
20. Hansard
21. Postal Censorship
22. Police Duty Room Reports
23. Wartime Social Survey Reports
24. B.B.C. Listener Research Papers
25. B.B.C. Special Papers
26. Citizens' Advice Bureaux Reports
27. W.V.S. Reports
28. Scottish Unionist Whips' Reports
29. Liberal Party's Reports
30. Economic League's Reports
31. War Office Post Bag Summaries
32. Primary Sources

D 34653-1 6,000 1/43 R P W

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