To the Rt Hon Lord Woolton
Minister of Food
You are I believe the right man in the right place, but if it were not tragic it would be funny the way you are trying to teach us how to feed our pigs and poultry on one grain a day. Surely you know what happened to the old woman’s cow when she had just got it to live on one bean a day? It died. I knew that when I was seven. Now you have the power and you have the quislings, commandeer in the name of common sense all the barley, never mind the beer and at once we can produce a tremendous amount of bacon, poultry and eggs. Now pigs don’t need the brewing sugar so let the manufacturers and the people have that. It would sweeten those bitter oranges you expect us to make into marmalade without sugar. Only a man would think of such illogical things.
Don’t wait to think of the uproar, did you trouble about the children’s sweets and the women’s chocolate? Did they make a song about it? Surely our men would not be behind us in sacrificing a little luxury. They still get their tobacco and the soldiers get an allowance to pay for it.
Strike now and save our food, release our shipping and if you are thinking of revenue, I am convinced that the saving on shipping and the lessening by at least two-thirds of road and other accidents which would be avoided both civil and military will balance this.
I am a simple country woman but this is how things appear to me. I have no patience with all this running round the question when the remedy is in our hands and you have the power. Leave the consequences to God.
(Mrs.) May Hill
The reference to ‘quislings’ (traitors) probably refers to the internment of certain people who had been outspoken in their criticism of the declaration of war on Germany, in some cases expressing anti-Jewish sentiments.
Minister of Food, Lord Woolton, himself a Unitarian Church member, was ex-managing director of the Jewish owned firm of Lewis’s, a group of department stores in northern England and Scotland, not to be confused with the more widely known John Lewis Partnership group of stores. (See website www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,803488-2,00.html.)
It is not known whether a copy of the letter was actually posted. No reply has been found.
May had earlier expressed her strong objection to restrictions on food for pigs, in her diary entry on 17th Feb 1941.
Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?