The British Restaurants were community restaurants provided by the Ministry of Food as a way of ensuring that people were able to obtain a good quality and wholesome meal without having to give up coupons from their ration books. If by chance they had used up most of their coupons for a particular week then they could still have food available in the British Restaurant.
The British Restaurant in Burton Latimer was located in the former Co-operative Society building in Duke Street. It opened in 1943. Extracts from the Kettering Leader reproduced below give some idea of the impact that it made.
Taken from "The Kettering Leader" Friday October 1943
“PLENTY FOR THE MONEY”
Burton Latimer's British Restaurant Opened
Situated in the old Co-operative premises in Duke Street, which have been redecorated and slightly altered, Burton Latimer's new British Restaurant, plans for which have been under way for some months, was officially opened by the chairman of the Council (Coun. R J Mackintosh) on Monday morning when more than 50 persons were present to sample the first meal.
Coun. A.G. Miller J.P. introduced Coun. Mackintosh and said that he hoped that the patrons were all satisfied with their fare. Cries of "More than satisfied" proved the great success of the venture.
Opening the restaurant, Coun. Mackintosh said that it was not intended that it should be patronised by workers only, but that other people should visit it, to ease home rations and to avoid the bugbear of packed sandwich meals.
"It has been suggested that people should not go to British Restaurants and consume home rations too," said Coun. Mackintosh, "but have no consciences upon this matter. It is more economical to visit a restaurant during the week than to cook at home, and rations are thereby conserved for the week-end."
Monday's midday meal consisted of vegetable soup with a slice of bread, two generous slices of roast beef, with cabbage, mashed and roast potatoes and gravy, with apple pudding and custard, and a cup of tea, all for the moderate charge of 1s 2d per head.
Cash and carry meals are served from 11.30 to 12 o'clock and lunches from 12.00 to 2.30 pm.
The food is prepared at the Desborough depot and is conveyed to Burton Latimer in sealed containers.
Mr. Charles Mitchell, a factory worker, whose home is at Kettering, told an "Evening Telegraph" reporter that in his opinion the lunch was excellent. "This restaurant has been needed in Burton Latimer for some time," he said. "It is a really good scheme and meals like the one I have just enjoyed could not be made at home. There's plenty for the money, too."
Mrs. M Groome, of 59, Pioneer Avenue, Burton Latimer, was the first local resident to patronise the restaurant's cash and carry department. She arrived just on the stroke of 11.30 and expressed herself delighted with the sustaining and appetising meal, which she took to her home.
The restaurant is under the capable supervision of Mrs. A M Perkins of Kettering, who has had nearly a year's experience at Kettering British Restaurant, assisted by three local helpers.
A notice is to be placed at the entrance to Duke Street, so that lorry drivers and strangers to the town who may be in need of a hot midday meal or of tea in the afternoon will have no difficulty in finding their way.
Taken from 'The Kettering Leader’, Friday October 15th 1943
An excellent report of the successful first week of the new British Restaurant was given by the chairman of the Restaurant Committee (Coun. A G Miller) who stated that during the first six days after opening 794 lunches had been served and 25 teas. Arrangements were very satisfactory and he paid tribute to the work of the staff.
The Medical Officer (Dr. J T Murphy) reported that since the last meeting one case of erysipelas and one of pulmonary tuberculosis had been notified.
Eight samples of milk had been sent for examination to the County Laboratory; two were good, one moderate and five bad keeping quality. The Medical Officer and the Sanitary Inspector were instructed to investigate the bad samples.
Should an emergency arise Kettering Town Council, it was reported, had agreed to supply Burton Latimer with water to an amount not exceeding 10O.OOO gallons a week
The arrangement was that a quantity not exceeding 5O.OOO should be taken in one day.
A letter from the Kettering ARP. Officer was received regarding a recent Rescue Party competition. Burton Latimer entrants were congratulated on their ability, keenness and sportsmanship.
Members present were: Couns. R J. Mackintosh (chairman), A V Morley (vice-chairman) O Tailby, J W Patrick, A Barlow, A G. Miller J P, L Patrick, R R Clipson, W C Meads, B W Phillips and R Pownall.