THE sugar shortage of 1974 lasted from July to at least November, according to Mrs Broadbent’s Diary.
The late Ivy Broadbent lived in Greenhead Lane, Dalton, and kept a meticulous diary of daily events which her son, Richard Broadbent, has transcribed to provide a wonderful slice of domestic history.
The year of the sugar shortage was momentous. The Government enforced a three day working week to ration electricity because of a miners’ strike over inflation and capped wages.
Around 40% of the country suffered blackouts and people learned to live with candlelight at home. Television stations had to close at 10.30pm, petrol deliveries were cut and a 50mph speed limit was imposed.
Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest, Chris Tarrant launched Sally James and TISWAS on TV, the average house price was £10,900 and a gallon of petrol cost 42p – that’s 10p a litre.
Ivy first mentions the sugar shortage on July 16 when the Co-op was limiting sales to four pounds per customer. She notes the price was 10-and-a-half pence for a two pound bag. A week later it had gone up one pence and the ration was two pounds a customer.
“Some shopkeepers are cashing in on the shortage by charging up to 18p for a bag.”
By late August people stockpiling meant the Huddersfield Co-op hadn’t had any for three weeks and the price had gone up another four pence. And by the end of October she notes the price was going up to 19p for a two pound bag. “Although there isn’t any in the shops this week.”