February 5, 1953: Children rejoice as sweet rationing ends in Britain

Eight years after the end of the war, children and the sweet-toothed could celebrate again as the rationing of sweets ended in Britain.

Children and the sweet-toothed were overjoyed on this day in 1953 as the rationing of sweets ended in Britain.

Chocolate and sweets had been rationed for over 10 years due to wartime shortages, and only 12oz a month was permitted to be purchased until the rationing repeal.

Queues developed at confectioner’s shops around lunchtime as workers enjoyed the novelty of being able to buy boxes of chocolates to take home to their families.

An attempt to end sweet rationing had first occurred in 1949, but lasted for only four months as demand for confectionery had far outweighed supply.

Old brands

This time, the anticipated surge in sales had been planned for; manufacturers were allocated an increased amount of sugar – which remained rationed – to cope with demand, though they would still be forced to make do with just over half their pre-war levels of the commodity.

A speedy end to rationing was promised by the Conservatives in the run-up to their election victory in 1951, and the Minister for Food Major Gwilym Lloyd-George was charged with making its repeal a priority.


Sugar was eventually taken off rationing in September 1953; and meat, the last item to remain rationed, became freely available again in July 1954.

[July 4, 1954: Britain drools as food rationing ends after 14 years]