Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

With the introduction of rationing, the threat of air raids, and the loss of so many workers through conscription, daily life looked and felt very different for people at home in Scotland during the Second World War.

Growing food

By 1940, the limited availability of many food products such as meat, dairy and eggs led to the introduction of rationing by the Ministry of Food. Food imports from abroad were affected by German U-boat activity in the seas around Britain, so the government encouraged a greater emphasis on growing food at home.

Land was reclaimed to grow vegetables, and farmers were supported to produce more food.

One such farm was the Wester Kittochside Farm, owned and run by the Reid family, which now forms part of the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride. Find out more about the history of the Reid family and the type of farm machinery they may have used at the bottom this page.

Food rationing began in 1940 and lasted longer than you might think. Meat rationing only stopped in 1954.

Bag Near Bed

Prisoners of war

Prisoners of war were often used to support labour shortages at home, particularly for agricultural work to help the nation grow food. German and Italian prisoners of war worked at the Wester Kittochside Farm both during and after the war.

Prisoners of war at East Kilbride
resized LSF box344_6a Pacifist Service Units - (c) Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain.jpg

Conscientious objectors

Conscription was reintroduced in Britain which meant that citizens were expected to contribute directly to the war effort. Over 60,000 men and women chose not to fight for religious, political or moral reasons.

Read more on the blog


Due to the air raids conducted by the Germans, many inner-city families had to send their children to the countryside to keep them safe.

Learn about Millie Grey’s experience of being evacuated from Restalrig, Edinburgh to Linlithgow, West Lothian. She also shares memories about gas masks and air raids, her father being a conscientious objector, and celebrating the end of the war with a great big party.

Evacuee Millie Grey

Find out more about the history of Wester Kittochside Farm and the Reid family, and the types of machinery they would have used on the farm during the Second World War.

Header: Group of raspberry pickers from Paisley, photographed in Perthshire, 1942

Back to top