The Friar Tuck, British Restaurant, Mitcham

The Friar Tuck, British Restaurant, Mitcham

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Partial / Incomplete Date c.1943
Area Mitcham
Picture Reference Mit_​War_​3-8
Original Format Photo
Notes / History Detail of the murals painted to decorate one of the 6 British Restaurants or Communal Kitchens set up in Mitcham during World War II. The murals depict the various stories connected with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Robin Hood has been associated with the area since the 16th century when the May Games, held in Kingston, included the Robin Hood Game. There is also a Robin Hood Gate leading from Richmond Park.

The British Restaurants, originally called ‘Community Feeding Centres’, were run on a non-profit basis by the local authority or voluntary agencies. They were set up to combat the restrictions of rationing by providing basic meals at reasonable prices. A full three-course meal could be purchased at the British Restaurant without using up valuable ration coupons. A typical meal would be soup, a main course and a hot pudding. It would cost 4d for a child portion and between 6d to 9d for an adult.

Mitcham developed the idea early and opened the first one in September 1940 in the Gladstone Road Mission Hall. The building, on the Western Road, belonged to the Shaftesbury Society and the restaurant was run by the Citizen’s Bureau of the Women’s Voluntary Services for Civil Defence.

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