Hampstead National Kitchen Token (1918)

Britain imported a lot of food during the First World War, but the Germans targeted merchant ships with their U-boats and shortages occurred. Rationing was introduced in 1918, but was haphazard. The government and local councils opened National Kitchens which provided nutritious meals at low cost. Visitors would pay on entering the Kitchen and receive tokens such as this one for half a penny, which they could then exchange for food. The Central Baths on Finchley Road were used for the main cooking site in Hampstead, and the meals distributed to different canteens around the borough.