A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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All housewives interviewed were asked if they had attended any Wartime Food Demonstrations. Results here are not so much a reflection of opinion as of opportunity, since there is unevenness in the availability of this method of publicity.

8.5% of the sample had been to Demonstrations.

90.3% had not been.

1.2% did not know about them.

These results may be compared with the results of a survey made in the early days of the Wartime Social Survey (May, 1940).

The proportions in four poor London boroughs (A-D), two more prosperous boroughs (E and F), a middle-class dormitory suburb(G-) and a prosperous hosiery manufacturing town (H) which had attended demonstrations were:

A B C D E - F G H
8% ½% 2% - 1% 2% 4%

On the other hand, asked if they would like to go to a demonstration, replies were:-

A B F D E – F G H Sample 1415
Yes 32% 47% 33% 44% 45% 37% 37%

Full details of the sample or sampling method are not available. The Figures must therefore be used with care .

The reasons at that time advanced for unwillingness to go to cookery demonstrations were:-

50% Inconvenience or impossibility owing to work or children.

20% Could not learn much.

10% health or disability

5% Lack of interest.

Comparable figures were not available from the current survey.

Social Groups

Had been to demonstrations. 10.4 11.9 8.9 5.0
Had not been. 89.0 87.7 90.4 93.3
Didn’t know about them. 0.6 0.4 0.7 1.7
Sample 346 1152 2110 2094

It will be seen that there is a tendency for upper income groups to visit demonstrations more than lower income groups. This may reflect the type of shop in which demonstrations are usually held.

Age Groups .

No notable differences in the proportions attending demonstrations was observed between housewives in different age groups.

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Regional Differences .

Scotland S. Wales N. Midland N.W. N. & N.E. Midland S.E. & London S’th S.W. East Total
Had been to demonstrations. 9.4 9.9 10.9 5.2 11.3 6.8 7.3 5.3 4.3 17.1 8.5
Had not been. 87.0 89.5 88.6 93.7 88.1 93.0 91.7 94.4 94.8 82.6 90.3
Did not know about them 3.6 0.6 0.5 1.1 0.6 0.2 1.0 0.3 0.9 0.3 1.2
Sample 671 353 387 810 885 513 1023 283 442 385 5752

The best areas appear to be Eastern and N. and N.E., and the worst S.W., S, and N.W. As pointed out before, there is no evidence available from the present survey to show whether these differences reflect more than local efforts in presenting food demonstrations. For the main part however, the regional variations are not great.

It will be seen that in no region have more than a small minority of housewives attended food demonstrations.

This may go some way to explain the small number of housewives who mentioned other than the two main means of publicity.

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