logo - Join me in the 1900s mid C20th
The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

'Make do and mend'
in and after war-time Britain - furniture

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In general, people on the British home front during World War Two were accepting and creative in the face of rationing and shortages.

orange box - wooden vegetable box used by greengrocers in the first part of the 20th century before plastics became common

A typical upturned vegetable box, generally known as an 'orange box', used by greengrocers in the 1940s and which probably served as many a piece of furniture in the shortages of wartime Britain. One was my bedside cabinet.

As an example of making do, my early childhood bedside cabinet was an vegetable box from the greengrocer. Everyone called these boxes 'orange boxes', although I doubt if my war-time one had ever contained oranges.

'Vegetable box' would have been a better name as all vegetables arrived at greengrocers in these boxes and were often displayed in them too. There were no plastic crates.

My orange box bedside cabinet consisted of coarsely cut unvarnished white-wood slats, hammered together with a few nails, like the one in the pictures. It all too easily gave people splinters, so my mother covered the top with an embroidered cloth.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster

Greengrocer's wooden vegetable box, known as an 'orange box', here containing apples

 A typical vegetable box, generally known as an 'orange box', here containing apples, from an old scrapbook.