Skip to content

The Cost of Living

We acquired an early 1940s Army and Navy catalogue and the prices are quite astonishing. We cannot reproduce it as it is hundreds of pages long, but we wanted to get a feel for how much the things were in our new display, the Emergency Shop.

The Cost of Living 1941 vs 2023

The average weekly wage in 1941 was £5.00 (£202) for men and £2.20 (£88.00) for women.
The average weekly wage in 2023 is £630
An average house in 1941 £650
An average house in 2023 is £275,000
(Information from the Office of Home Statistics)

Pounds, Shillings and Pence, written as £/s/d or Lsd (from the Latin – Librae, Solidi and Denarii)

CoinsWritten asExplanationSpoken as
Farthing¼dQuarter of a Penny
2 in a Half Penny  
Farthing Coppers – Refers to Farthings, Half Pennies and Pennies  
Half Penny½dHalf of a PennyHa’penny
Penny1d or -/1 Penny or Pence
Two pence or Tup’pence
Three Pence3d or -/3 Thru’pence or Thruppeny Bit
Six Pence6d or -/6 Sixpence or Tanner
Shilling1s or 1/-12 Pence in a Shilling 20 Shillings in a PoundShilling or Bob
Florin2/-Two ShillingsFlorin or Two Bob Bit
Half Crown2/6Two Shillings and Six PenceHalf Crown or Two and Six
Can you speak 1940s Money?
Three shillings3/-Three Bob
Two shillings and four pence2/4Two and Four                             
One pound, three shillings and 5 pence£1/3/5One pound, three and five
Three pounds£3Three Quid                      
Five and a half pence5½dFive Pence Ha’penny       

Conversion 1941 to February 2023 (Bank of England Conversion)

1940s MoneyEquivalent Conversion to 2023
Half pence£0.08

Food Items

ItemBrand1941 PriceConversion February 2023
Apples (Tinned)Page Valley USA2/3£4.55
Apricots (Tinned)Clover Farm California1/4£2.70
Asparagus (Tinned)1/9£3.55
Assorted Vegetables (Tinned)8d£1.36
Bacon Grease 1lbAnchor10d£1.70
Baked BeansHeinz5d£0.85
Baked BeansHP4d£0.68
Baked Beans with PorkHeinz6d£1.02
Beef and Onion BrothMaconochie’s6d£1.02
Beef Dripping 1lbAnchor11d£1.87
Beef SuetAtora or Orlox   1/5£2.87
Black Treacle 1lbWards9d£1.53
Bovril 1lb6/2£12.46
Cabbage 1lb 12oz (Tinned)Del Monte USA8d£1.36
Chicory Essence 9ozCoffee1/5 ½£2.87
Cocoa 8ozBournville11d£1.87
Coffee 10ozLyons1/3£2.53
Coffee and Chicory Essence 9 fl ozArmy & Navy1/5 ½£2.87
Coffee Extract Combination 10ozNescafe1/-£2.02
Corned Beef 12ozFray Bentos1/9£3.55
Cornflakes 5 ½ ozKellogs7d£1.19
Cream Cracket 8ozJacobs1/1£2.19
Dark Sweet Cherries (Tinned)Victrypac1/-£2.02
Dried Eggs 5ozCanadian1/9£3.55
Dried Eggs 5ozUSA1/9£3.55
Drinking ChocolateCadbury’s7d£1.19
Egg Substitute PowderFreemans5d£0.85
Whole Eggs Dehydrated 5ozRoyal Brand1/9£3.55
Evaporated MilkCarnation6d£1.02
Evaporated MilkMoF7d£1.19
Evaporated MilkLibby’s6d£1.02
Fruit Cocktail (Tinned)Blue Mountain1/4£2.70
Green Label TeaLyons6d£1.02
Green Label Tea Rations 8ozMoF1/4£2.70
Green Pea SoupHeinz5d£0.85
Grill Sauce 3 1/2 ozCaptain Kettle3d£0.51
HerringsSea Brand1/2£2.36
HP Brown Sauce 9ozGartens9d£1.53
Lentils 1lb2½d£0.34
Malted MilkCarnation6d£1.02
Milk PowderKlim2/5£4.89
Olive OilHeinz1/1 ½£2.19
Pears (Tinned Half)Victrypac Airmail1/4£2.70
Pears (Tinned pieces)Victrypac Bartlett8d£1.35
Pears (Tinned Whole)Victrypac Bartlett8d£1.36
Peas (Tinned)Isaac Brand1/1£1.19
Pork Sausages (Tinned)Walls6d£1.02
Potatoes Whole (Tinned) 7d£1.19
Rice 1lbEmpire2d£0.34
Rice Crispies 5 ½ ozKellogs7d£1.19
Salmon 1lbVictory Canadian1/9£3.55
Salted Butter 1lbAnchor1/4£2.70
Scotch Broth SoupFray Bentos5d£0.85
Self-raising Flour 1lbVictory Brand4d£0.68
Self-raising Flour 2lbBeaufort9½d£1.53
Self-raising Flour 3lbMcDougalls9d£1.53
Soups (Various)MoF7d£1.19
Stock Cubes (6)Oxo6d£1.02
Spaghetti (Tinned)Heinz or Darlene’s6d£1.02
Strawberry JamHartleys11d£1.87
TeaChoice Blend6d£1.02
TeaLyons Red or Green Label6d£1.02
Tea 4 ozTyphoo10d£1.70
Tea RationsMoF1/4£2.70
Tea – Emergency LeafBrook Bond6d£1.02
Tomatoes (Tinned)Silver Lake or Home Town7d£1.19
Tomato KetchupCross and Blackwell9d£1.53
Tomato SoupSt George10d£1.70
TunaSouthern Cross1/1£2.19
Vegetables (Various tinned)MoF6d£1.02

Household and Personal Items

ItemBrand1941 PriceConversion February 2023
Clothes Line 10½d£1.78
Hair Grips (pack 24) 9d£1.52
Knicker ElasticEagle Brand8½d£1.43
Liquorice Sticks 1d£0.17
Mouse TrapLittle Nipper3d£0.51
Nappie Pins each 2d£0.34
Nappies 1/-£2.02
Razor Blades eachMyatt Daymark2d£0.34
Scouring Pads eachSOS3d£0.51
Scrubbing Brush 3/2£6.40
Shaving Brush 2/-£4.04
Soap 2 barsSunlight4d£0.68
Soap 8ozBorax6d£1.02
Soap CarbolicD. & W. Gibbs3½d£0.59
Soap FlakesSylvan6d£1.02
Soap ToiletGoodwin3d£0.51
Soap HouseholdD. & W. Gibbs3½d£0.59
Toilet Paper packSupremacy1/1£2.19
Tooth PowderGibbs7½d£1.26
Washing PowderRinso7d£1.19