Charr fishing on Windermere

Everyday wartime lives

Living in World War II

The everyday lives of people were affected in a variety of different ways. From enlistment in to the forces, working in the Home Guard or on the land and hosting evacuees, the lives of people in the Lake District changed.

Rationing and hedgerows

Rationing of food and clothes impacted on everyone in Britain. Ration books were issued to make sure the amount of food provided for each person was equal and items were ticked off by the shop keepers. Local children gathered rosehips from the hedgerows and took them to be collected at schools and health centres. This earned them a few extra pennies for their harvest and they competed to win badges, awarded to those who picked the biggest crop. As they were an excellent source of vitamin C, the hips were processed to make rose hip syrup to give to babies.

Fish for victory

Lake Windermere has always been important for fishing, as it contains arctic char, brown trout, pike, perch, roach and eels. Salmon and sea trout pass through the lake to spawn in the tributaries. During WW2, Windermere 'perchines' (canned perch) were produced as a substitute for sardines.

ID cards

During World War II everyone had to carry an ID card at all times, including children. This provided the owners name, address and each person was given a National registration number, which was also on their card.

Mickey Mouse gas masks

Gas masks became an essential piece of equipment, kept with you at all times. To try to stop children being frightened, some gas masks were designed to look like Mickey Mouse.

World War II activities and resources for teachers

We've created several World War II-related activities:

Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Created with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund