Margaret grew up in the village of Inverbervie in 1930s and 40s. Her first job was in 1946 in the village newsagents. There were lots of items to sell and papers to sort out. She was paid 7 /- 6d. War had affected the village. There were four bombs dropped over the hill probably on their way home from the cities. In 1947 the owners of the shop were really annoyed when the Ministry of Board and Trade decided that all shop assistants should be paid £1 10 /- (30 /-). This was an attempt to level off pay so that young people had an idea of what they would be paid. Over a period of 18 months her pay rose to the required level. The shop had no till, just a drawer at the front corner. There were two long mahogany tables covered in paper. There was no self-service and the drawer was not secure. Stock control took the form of looking around at the shelves and seeing what was needed. A lot was based on trust. There was rationing of a range of items including sugar, biscuits and tea. Sugar and tea were weighed out into firm white bags. There was a special way of folding the top of the tea bag and then securing it with string. The shop sold biscuits such as McVities and Abernethy biscuits. At that time there were several pubs (4), 3 butchers, 2 bakers, a co-op store, 3 drapers selling fabric and clothing, 3 churches and a library. There was also 2 fish and chip shops, a blacksmith and a “flea pit”. The latter was usually a cinema. The drapers’ shops included one shop which sold off the peg (ready-made) clothes, another was a tailor making suits and a draper which was also a grocer’s shop. There was also an infant/Junior school and secondary school. If you passed the exam there was another school in Stonehaven.
Under the counter were some tins for the more well-to-do customer. They contained such wonders as Chocolate Viennese biscuits.
Memory contributed by Margaret, Elgin
-Information about the town of Inverbervie
–Memorial to Hercules Linton designer and builder of the clipper Cutty Sark now preserved at Greenwich, London. Located at Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire
-Is a McVities’ Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? Find out here
BBC History website– rationing of the wartime kitchen
Scotland on Screen films
Ministry of Food Flashes (clip 2)
The importance of food during war Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum
Ministry of Food Flashes (clip 3)
Public information films about how to feed the nation and help the war effort.
Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum