Colwyn Bay postcard: The Ministry of Food

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Granite postcard: The Ministry of Food

image of Ministry of Food granite postcardThis granite postcard on the prom at Colwyn Bay relates to the evacuation of the Ministry of Food to the town in the Second World War.

The postcard image is based on a wartime poster which carried the slogan “Spades not ships” and depicted a garden spade on one side, a ship on the other. This was part of the ministry’s “Dig for Victory” publicity campaign, which inspired millions of ordinary people to grow food in their gardens, on playing fields and at many other places. Britain halved the amount of food it imported, saving lives at sea and freeing up ships for other vital supplies.

As German submarines sank merchant shipping, the ministry faced a big challenge to ensure the food available kept the armed forces well fed and the rest of Britain’s population adequately nourished. The task was too important for the ministry to remain in London, vulnerable to enemy bombing.

Photo of the Colwyn Bay HotelThe ministry’s wartime headquarters was right here, on the prom. On the inland side of the road, a block of flats called Princess Court stands on the site of the Colwyn Bay Hotel. The hotel (pictured left) was where Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, had has office. Several of his departments were here too. The hotel kitchens were used to experiment on food that was normally wasted. The least unpalatable results formed the basis of recipes encouraging the public to eat dishes such as “brains on toast”!

Other departments were based at requisitioned hotels and schools across Colwyn Bay. You can discover some of them by following our Dig for Victory QR-code tour, starting at the site of the Colwyn Bay Hotel.

Postcode: LL29 8PT

Click here for a map of the postcards' location.