A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


4.1 Information about Space Question 13: “At what times and on what days do you heat the following rooms at the present time of year and in what way?”

Information obtained from this question was summarised to give the number of hours the following rooms were heated: Kitchen, Kitchen Sitting Room, Sitting Room and Bedrooms and the fuel used to heat them.

Information was also obtained about the total number of rooms heated in the household in a day at that time of year (February-March).

In the analyses which follow there are, in certain cases slight inconsistencies in the totals for the groups into which the data has been analysed. These arise from the fact that in a few cases some relevant information about the household was omitted from answers to the questionnaire.

The information obtained has been grouped under three main headings:-

  1. (i) The number of rooms heated; which is further analysed to compare the number of rooms heated in houses with the number of rooms heated in flats; a comparison of the number of rooms heated in the two income groups and in families with and without children.

  2. (ii) The time that rooms were heated. This has been further analysed into regions and into urban and rural districts.

  3. (iii) The fuel used to heat rooms, A total picture is given and also details for the Sitting room and the Bedrooms.


Table 23

Summarising the data it is seen that at the time the Survey was made (February-March) one room only was heated in about 74% of all the households in our sample, two rooms in a little less than 23% and three rooms or more in a little over there was no significant difference between the number of rooms heated on weekdays and on Sundays.

There were 3,897 households who heated one room only and in all but three cases it was one of the living rooms.

In 1,197 households where two rooms were heated, these rooms were cases (43.1%).

Three rooms were heated in 116 cases,in 9 of which there living rooms and in the rest two living rooms and one bedroom.

In all the 58 households four rooms were heated three living rooms and a bedroom.



Table 24

The sample was analysed into households occupying houses occupying flats and these were further sub-divided into the two income groups.

The main picture is that two or more rooms were heated more often by families occupying houses; some 35% of flats had flats had two or more rooms heated compared with 24% of the houses.

Table 24

This pattern was true for both income groups, although to a greater extent the higher income group in both flats and houses heated more than room; this was particularly so in the case of flat dwellers. The proportions are as follows:-

Houses heating 2 or more Rooms (income under £160 p.a.) 20% approximately

Houses heating 2 or more Rooms (income under £160 p.a.) 28% approximately

Flats heating 2 or more rooms (income under £160 p.a.) 28% approximately

Flats heating 2 or more rooms (income under £160 p.a.) 41% approximately

This helps to a considerable extent to account for the higher expend­iture on heating by flat dwellers, particularly in the upper income group.


There is very little difference between these two groups in the sample. Whilst on weekdays fewer families with school children heat two rooms than do families without, on Sundays this tendency is reversed. The differences, however, are very slight.


This again refers to February and March, the time of the survey.


Sculleries were included with kitchens for the purpose of this analysis, since the scullery was very rarely heated, and it was impracticable to deal with both separately. It does not affect the Kitchen picture to any extent.

Table 25

The total picture for weekdays is as follows:-

Households heating Kitchen for less than 8 hours were 17% of the sample

8-1 0 “ hours 7. 6%
10-12 “ hours 18.7%
12-14 “ hours 13.2%
14-16 “ hours 16.7%
Over 16 “ hours 7.8%

On Sundays the kitchen is heated for a less number of hours in many cases, the proportions being as follows:-

Less than 8 hours 18.7%
8-10 hours 10.7%
10-12 hours 28.9%
14-16 hours 9.9%
Over 16 hours 5.9%

The kitchen was heated in 659 cases on weekdays and 637 on Sundays.

Table 26


The Kitchen Sitting Room was heated much more often than the kitchen and there was only a small difference between weekdays and Sundays in the total number of kitchen sitting rooms heated. The figures were:-

3,788 Kitchen Sitting Rooms heated on weekdays

3,772 Kitchen Sitting Rooms heated on Sundays

The times that the Kitchen Sitting Room was heated on weekdays were as follows: -

Less than 4 hours in 1.% of households
4-8 hours in 3.5% of households
8-10 hours in 6.8% of households
10-12 hours in 19.6% of households
12-14 hours in 37% of households
14-16 hours in 22.6% of households
Over 16 hours in 8.9% of households

The results for Sunday show that, as in the case of the kitchen, the kitchen sitting room is heated for a rather shorter time on Sundays than on weekdays. The results are as follows:-

Less than 4 hours in 1% cases
4-8 hours in 3.9% cases
8-10 hours in 11.1% cases
10-12 hours in 30.3% cases
12-14 hours in 33.8% cases
14-16 hours in 13.3% cases
Over 16 hours in 6.6% cases


The Sitting room was heated in 1,193 households on weekdays and in households on Sundays, quite a considerable increase on Sunday compared with

the other rooms. The proportions of the total number of Sitting rooms which were heated for different times on weekdays is given below:-

Table 27

Less than 4 hours in 11.2% cases
4-8 hours in 12.6% cases
8-10 hours in 10.3% cases
10-12 hours in 18.8% cases
12-14 hours in 28.6% cases
14-16 hours in 12.6% cases
Over 16 hours in 5.9% cases

On Sundays the results were:-

Less than 4 hours in 7.1% cases
4-8 hours in 15.5% cases
8-10 hours in 16.3% cases
10-12 hours in 27.9% cases
12-14 hours in 22.9% cases
14-16 hours in 6.2% cases
Over 16 hours in 4.1% cases

It will be seen that as in the case of the other down stair rooms the Sitting room is heated for a rather less number of hours on Sunday than on weekdays although as has been noted more Sitting rooms are heated on Sundays.

It is worth noting that the proportions of Sitting rooms which are heated for a long time on weekdays is somewhat less than the proportion of Kitchen Sitting rooms that are so heated.


The analysis of bedrooms is given in a slightly different form to that of the other rooms. In almost all of the sample there were rooms which were used as bedrooms only and it is thus possible to compare, not only the amount of time that each bedroom was heated, but also to include in the sample the cases where the bedrooms were not heated. This was not possible in the cases of the other rooms as in many instances Kitchen, Kitchen Sitting Room and Sitting Room were used for much the same purpose and it did not necessarily follow that because one of them was not heated that another room was not being heated and serving the purpose. Where more than one bedroom was heated, that which was heated longest was taken.

Bedrooms were not heated in nearly 87% of all households on both weekdays and Sundays.

Table 28

281 bedrooms of the total number(5% ) were heated for an hour or less, 128 (2.5%), were heated for less than 2 hours; 110 (2.2%) were heated for between 2-4 hours; and 3.2% of bedrooms were heated for more than 4 hours. There was no difference between weekdays and Sundays.


The analysis by Degree-Day Regions presents certain difficulties inasmuch as it was only possible to account tor the total time that a room was heated and not for the intensity of the heating and whilst climatic conditions may have influenced to some extent the number of hours that any room was heated, there may be other factors involved as well which are not so susceptible to analysis. It is in the case of bedrooms that the regional analysis is most striking.


14.3 6 KITCHEN

Table 25

In the case of the Kitchen the numbers in the sample are large enough to be analysed in the cases of Degree-Day Region II (4,500 - 5,000), Region III 4,000 - 4,500) and Region IV (under 4,000). The most obvious point of comparison is the proportion of Kitchens which were heated for less than 8 hours, which in the sample varies inversely with the number of Degree-Days. It is 8.3% in Region II 18.1% in Region III and 17.2% in Region IV.

Although the length of time for which the Kitchen is heated does not correspond very precisely to the Degree-Day Region, there is a general tendency for the room to be heated more in the colder region than in the warmer, although the picture is somewhat confused. For example comparing Region II with Region III, Region II has 39% of its Kitchens heated for, more than 12 hours but less than 14 hours, compared with 23% in Region III. It has 22% of its Kitchens heated for 14-16 hours compared with 23% in Region III, although only 7.5% of its Kitchens are heated for more than 16 hours compared with 10.7% in Region III.

The difference between Region III and IV is much less clear, for although Region III has a greater proportion of rooms heated for more than 10 hours within that group, there is no clear division in favour of the colder region.

The pattern on Sundays is very similar although, of course, the time that the Kitchen is heated is in general somewhat less.


Table 26

There are no very great regional differences in the time the Kitchen Sitting Room is heated, although the proportions of Kitchen Sitting Rooms which are heated for less than 10 hours does vary inversely with the number of Degree Days. These proportions are: Region I, 4.4%; Region II, 7.1%; Region III,9.1%; and Region IV 18. 9%.

The length of time that rooms were heated in the warmest region was clearly less than the times in the colder regions, although within the colder regions themselves the difference is not so clear, Region III for example having almost as large a proportion in the 16 hours or over group as Region I.

The situation in the rural areas is rather similar.

On Sundays the same picture is generally true, but the Kitchen Sitting Room is, on the whole, heated rather less on Sundays than weekdays.


Table 27

The analysis of the Sitting Room figures shows the influence of the Degree Day rather more clearly than the other rooms, possibly because in many cases this is a room which is less used than the Kitchen Sitting Room and is a room which is used in a subsidiary way to the Kitchen Sitting Room. The proportions heated for less than 4 hours vary clearly with the Degree Day figure, Table being 7% in the coldest of the three regions for which we have a sufficient 27 sample, 12.6% in the next and 12.1% in the warmest. The next two groups (4-8 and 8-10 hours) taken together show the same pattern, the proportions in each region being 16.7%, 19.2% and 27.4% respectively. This general tendency in the lower heating ranges is reversed in the higher ranges as one would expect if heating depends on temperature. If the proportion of Sitting Rooms heated for more than 12 hours is taken, the figures are, going from the coldest to the warmest region, 59%, 52.8% and 40.6%.

The numbers in the rural sample are not large enough to be significant.

The heating of the Sitting Room on Sundays follows the same pattern, although as in the case of other rooms the Sitting Room is heated less on Sundays than on weekdays.


Table 28

The heating of Bedrooms has been analysed to include the bedrooms which were not heated at all as well as those which were heated, as has already been explained; there being no alternative inside the category of bedrooms, this proportion is as significant as the duration of the time for which the bedrooms are heated.

In the coldest region 25.1% of bedrooms were heated, in the next coldest Table region 14.9%, in the next 15.9% and in the warmest region 9.8%. The influence 28 of the climate is clearly shown in this analysis. It is borne out in the analysis of the times that the rooms were heated, particularly if the coldest region is compared with the warmest. In the coldest region 8.6% of bedrooms were heated for one hour or less compared with 3.8% in the warmest, 5.3% were heated for 1-2 hours compared with 2.5%, 7.9% for 2-4 hours compared with 1% and 3.3% for more than 4 hours compared with 2.5%.

In the rural sample the same tendency is present although the differences are rather less.

In contrast to the other rooms the times during which bedrooms are heated are almost identical on both Sundays and weekdays.



It has been suggested that in the Northern region households on the coalfield might heat their rooms for longer periods than houses away from the coalfield. An analysis was made of the Bedrooms, Sitting Rooms and Kitchen Sitting Rooms.

In the case of Bedrooms it was found that, in fact, slightly more Bedrooms were heated on the coalfield than on the non coalfield area, 10.6% compared with 6.6%, the figures being about the same for both weekdays and Sundays.

In the case of Sitting Rooms the numbers were too small for our purpose and in the case of the Kitchen Sitting room there was almost no difference in the proportion up to 14-16 hours, although in the case of over 16 hours the coalfield households were heated to this extent in 13.4% of the sample compared with 7. 5% of the non coalfield sample.


By far the most important fuel used for heating was coal. 95% of all kitchens were heated by coal, 95.5% of all Kitchen Sitting rooms were heated by coal, 96.4% of all Sitting Rooms were heated by coal and 48% of Bedrooms. It is clear from these proportions that other types of heating are used mainly to supply short period heating in bedrooms.


Table 29

Separate analyses for the Bedrooms and Sitting Rooms have been made. This shows that of the 1,192 Sitting Rooms, 16 were heated with gas, 29 with electricity, 10 with oil and 1,137 with coal. There was no difference between weekdays and Sundays.


Table 30

In the case of the Bedrooms the other fuels were important. Of the 683 Bedrooms heated, 323 were heated by coal, 104 were heated by gas, 205 by electricity and 50 by oil.

Although fuels other than coal were important for heating bedrooms, it is interesting to notice that for heating for longer periods coal is the most important fuel. Where rooms were heated for more than 8 hours coal was used in 89% of the cases, but where bedrooms were heated for less than 8 hours, the proportions using coal, gas and electricity were respectively 41%, 17% and 34%.


Most of the households visited heated only one room, but about one quarter heated two or more rooms. In most cases the living rooms were heated for 8 hours or more, often for 12-14 hours and in a few cases as many as 16 hours. Only a small proportion of the Bedrooms were heated and these not often for more than 4 hours.

The time that the rooms were heated bear a relation to the Degree-Day Regions and although this was not clearly defined in all cases, it is best shown in the Sitting Room and Bedrooms.

Of the fuels used coal was almost exclusively used to heat every room except the Bedrooms, where other fuels accounted for a little over half of the heating.

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