The police wife's struggle to feed her family in 1917


The hardship in January 1917 was such that police wives began to discuss ways of supplementing the family income. While many women throughout Britain were working outside the home, often earning good money in munitions and other factories and workshops which helped them to offset some of the steep price rises since the beginning of the war in August 1914, the police wife was not allowed to work outside the home. Any wife who did would likely cause her husband to be reprimanded and if she continued would ruin his promotion chances. Therefore, many police wives in hard times turned to how they could earn additional money from the home. Keeping poultry and selling the eggs was a favourite method. As average egg prices had risen by more than 170% since July 1914, keeping poultry and selling the eggs would have been quite lucrative, as well as providing additional food for the family. Keeping rabbits for sale as food, particularly for town dwellers with limited outdoor space, was also advocated. Wives with no outside spaces to keep livestock suggested laundry, ironing and needlework.