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Read Any Good Meters Lately (Watch your Meters)


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Director John Waterhouse
Duration 1min 2sec
Release Date 1947
Sponsor Central Office of Information for Ministry of Fuel
Synopsis Surreal trailer exhorting people to save energy by watching their meters
Text version of this film


The end of the war in 1945 did not result in the immediate end of shortages and rationing. By 1948 rations had fallen well below the wartime average. In some cases, they even applied to goods that had not been rationed during the war - such as bread.

Fuel, like so many other commodities, was at a premium. Indeed, coal remained rationed until 1958. This short trailer staring actor-director Richard Massingham was designed to raise awareness of conserving energy at a time of shortage. The film short is even more interesting when considering the significance of the date.

In 1946-47 temperature gauges plunged as Britain experienced the worst winter since 1880. The effects of the cold were heightened as the country endured a fuel crisis leaving people shivering in front of their almost empty grates.

Emanuel Shinwell, Minister of Fuel and Power, was much criticised for the crisis following a shortage of coal. Together with the existing food rations enforced by John Strachy, Minister of Food, the common saying at the time was; 'Starve with Strachy and shiver with Shinwell!'

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