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Petrol Ration

On the outbreak of war, brand petrol was replaced by 'pool'. It cost 1s.6d. a gallon initially and was later raised to 1s. 8d. and eventually to 2s. 1d. Every car owner was entitled to a basic ration of petrol, based on the size of the car. The small Austin Seven was allowed four gallons a month and cars of twenty horse-power and over were allowed ten gallons a month. Coupons could be obtained by presenting the car log-book at a Post Office. Supplementary coupons were available to anyone who could prove that the ration was inadequate for their essential business or domestic needs.

The ration was sufficient for approximately 100 to 200 miles of motoring a month. In October 1941 the ration was cut by one-sixth and then again in early 1942 there was another reduction. On March 13, 1942 it was announced that 'As from the 1st July the basic ration will cease to exist.' Supplementary petrol would only be granted if really essential. It was the governments aim to remove all unessential cars from the road. (Source: How We Lived Then; Norman Longmate)

Episode: Bad Blood

Pilot Officer - see RAF Ranks

Police HQ in London

Scotland Yard

"The red and white brick Victorian Gothic building designed by Norman Shaw was located on Victoria Embankment, SW1 adjacent to Cannon Row police station and built specifically to be the new Police Headquarters. It was the site of the unsolved Whitehall Mystery (1888) when a woman's torso was concealed in the cellar by night as the building work was in progress. Its main gates provided a background in many police films, and it held the original telephone number Whitehall 1212. However, the offices were cramped and inadequate and relocation was made essential by the 1960s. From 1967 the Metropolitan Police Headquarters have been located at 10 Broadway, SW1. This is a plain aluminium-clad office block behind St James's Park Underground Station. Its most famous feature is the revolving sign outside, which performs over 14,000 revolutions every day."

Episodes: The German Woman, The Funk Hole

Police Ranks

Chief Constable
Deputy Chief Constable
Assistant Chief Constable
Chief Superintendent/Detective Chief Superintendent
Chief Inspector
Police Constable

City Of London Police Rank Structure

The City of London has a slight variation from this above the rank of Chief Superintendent. This is:

Assistant Commissioner

Metropolitan Police Rank Structure

The Metropolitan Police have a similar structure above Chief Superintendent with:

Deputy Commissioner
Assistant Commissioner
Deputy Assistant Commissioner

Link: Police Ranks

Prices of Goods Act, 1939

The Prices of Goods Act of 1939 gave the Board of Trade the right to identify basic and maximum prices for any items that appeared to need controlling. The Government at first put its faith in publicity and the voluntary co-operation of traders; but the continually soaring prices of such new necessities as sandbags, torches and blackout cloth soon convinced ministers that they would have to take special measures to fend off the danger of public resentment and protest. These special measures emerged as the Prices of Goods Act. This Act aimed to control profits through control of prices. For a specific list of manufactured goods, no increases in prices were allowed above those ruling on 21st August 1939 unless justified by proved increases in cost; alternatively, the Board of Trade might specify 'permitted' prices. Enforcement of the Act was entrusted to a Central Price Regulation Committee and local committees which investigated complaints from the public. The Act came into force on 1st January 1940, with a very limited list of price-regulated goods in the lower price-range but the list was widened in May, 1940. In 1941 items such as torch batteries, cigarette lighters and the prices charged by laundries were brought under control. The defects of the Act were obvious from the outset. The Act was not wholly a failure: supported by the good sense of retailers and the conditions of trading at the time, it did prevent undue price rises at the retail stage; but as a control over manufacturers it was largely ineffectual.

Episode: The French Drop
Link: British War Economy; Towards a Level Economy

J.B. Priestley

John Boynton Priestley (1894-1984) was born in Yorkshire in 1894. He joined the Army at the beginning of WWII and served in France. After war service he obtained a degree in Modern History and Political Science from Cambridge University. He began writing for newspapers on leaving university and went on to become a successful writer of articles, essays, novels and plays - often writing with a strong political slant. His first novel was The Good Companions (1929).

On the evening of 5 June 1940, he began a series of weekly radio broadcasts for the BBC, called Postscripts, which became extremely popular. However, after accusations of political bias by the Conservative Party, it was cancelled by the BBC for being too critical of the government. The last Postscript was broadcast on 20 Oct 1940. The talks were later published as a book: Britain Speaks (1940).

In 1941, Priestley became politically active and in 1942, with others, formed the Common Wealth Party, a movement the main tenets of which were greater democracy, common ownership of land and morality in politics. It failed to gain support and was disbanded in 1945, most of its members going to the Labour Party. Priestley did influence political thinking: eg in the development of the principles of the Welfare State which was established after the war. He was active in the early movement for a United Nations and he helped to found CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) in the 1950s.

Autobiographies: Margin Released (1962) and Instead of the Trees (1977).
Link: J.B. Priestley
Episode: The White Feather