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People's Pantry, Reading

Photograph - 1945

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People's Pantry interior

The photograph is part of the Ministry of Information’s ‘1945 Portrait of Reading’ series. It was intended as an exhibition in the USA but was eventually sent to over 40 countries. Each photo was given an explanation for the American audience. This one said, ‘People's Pantry is a British restaurant run by a contractor on behalf of the Town Council. It is a wartime institution designed to provide quick, cheap, and satisfying meals for shoppers, business people, artisans and the forces'.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 10 February 1943 the People’s Pantry was hit by a bomb dropped from a single German fighter. As Wednesday was half-day closing the number of casualties was less than it could have been on another day. Despite this the attack still killed 41 people and injured another 100, many of whom had been inside the People’s Pantry. This photograph was taken two years later after it had reopened.

Museum object number REDMG : 1946.52.134

See related topic: Air Raid