In this extract Jim Quinn remembers the shortage of fuel and particularly coal during the war times. He remembers people often had to rely on damp turf for fuel which was not appropriate for the types of fireplaces which were typical of city housing at that time. He also remembers the black market that was around during the war particularly for tea. He remembers that rationing was far worse in England and because he worked on the boats travelling back and forth to the UK he would often bring certain rationed items over there to his "own people" over there.

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One of the things, for instance, I remember one of the things during the war was coal, the amount... getting fuel was very, very, very hard because you hadn’t got fuel, you couldn’t get it you see and then you’d get turf but it would be damp or wet turf, it wouldn’t be a very … you’d have to light it in an ordinary fire, in the country you’d have big fireplaces for the turf but we wouldn’t have that. But we had two fires - we'd one fire in the big room and in another room, in the small room we had a little fire, one sack of turf would fill it up you know, it was really they were built for just coal, and coal couldn't be got…

Do you remember food rationing then when you were younger?

Oh yes.

What was that like?

We only had so much tea and this sort of stuff so while I was here it didn’t bother me in the slightest, I mean I didn’t worry about it.

Was there a black market do you know?

Oh yeah, oh yeah there was… people bought tea, tea was the big thing, people bought tea of us in the black market because you could get tea in England, on the boat coming back and forward and you’d bring it over … there would be a black market for tea… but as a kid it didn’t bother me in the slightest but when I went to sea there was… for a couple of years afterwards you had to have ration books in England… but again there wasn’t… there was eggs and that sort of thing but again you could only get so much of it, it wasn’t long before your eggs started appearing and then meat and that sort of thing… but the... I’d be running back here to Ireland… if we wanted anything in the way of meat we’d buy it here, as a matter of fact we’d bring it over … stuff over to our own people on the other side, no it didn’t bother me in a sense …

You got around it


9:25.8 - 12:00.1

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WW2, Rationing



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"Jim Quinn remembers the shortage of fuel and particularly coal during the war times in Ireland.." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #164 (accessed February 21 2018, 7:27 am)