This article was taken from Issue 3 of our Palace Papers magazine.

During the 1940s Strand Palace did more than 'their bit' for the war effort, wholeheartedly embracing the blitz spirit of the nation and adapting the workings of the hotel and its kitchens entirely. They provided accommodation for American servicemen seeking refuge, sheltered guests in the basement during the air raids and accepted ration vouchers in their restaurants.

The Second World War meant that food and electricity were in short supply, and only by apportioning the amount of ingredients available to each citizen could the government ensure that there was enough food to go around. Rationing began in 1940 with sugar, meat, bacon, ham and butter, and other items were added as the siege economy heightened.

Vouchers were issued to each person and could be exchanged for provisions at one's local shop or used as currency in restaurants.

The latter provided a much sought-after distraction from the constant threat in the sky above.