At the outbreak of the Second World War, experts predicted that rationing and stress would undermine the nation’s health and infections spread in air raid shelters would cause epidemics. Yet the vast majority of those who survived ended the war in better health than before.
Laura Dawes’ literary talk Fighting Fit: The Wartime Battle for Britain’s Health, from the book of the same name, examined why that happened.
This entertaining speaker described the diet of rationing as being an improvement for 70% of the population and the hard work of the civilian population keeping them fit. She spoke of scientific breakthroughs and scientists experimenting on themselves. She admitted that ‘sex sells books’ and described how what were then called ‘venereal diseases’ defied the trend to better wartime health.
Members of the audience added their memories and experiences to a very interesting talk in the Pavilion Arts Centre as part of Buxton Festival. The book is clearly worth reading.