Austerity and saving resources
Rationing of food was not the only way in which people had to consume less. There was encouragement to make do and mend, to save energy, and to recycle food waste and metals.
Patricia Smith told us she used to go down to Cateswell Road to pick up little nodules of coal out of the slack left at the factories.
In 1940 there was the ‘Great Saucepan Offensive’, where the public were urged to hand in recyclable metal. Aluminium saucepans could be melted down and used to make aeroplane bodies. People were told 24 keys would make one hand grenade. There were bins on street corners for wool, paper and bones. Railings were torn down, including those outside the library. Two pieces were finally returned, thanks to the efforts of Councillor Matt Redmond.
The library frontage in June 1932 (Birmingham Libraries)
Harry Murch's history of Dolphin Lane school has some information about austerity, for example the chapter on Christmas.