Leeds nostalgia: Yes we have some bananas

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On this day in 1946, it was a Saturday and in the Yorkshire Evening Post, the headline was ‘22 arrests in A-bomb spy hunt reported’, with the sub-heading ‘Is Secret on Way to Russia?’

The Second World War might have ended but the Cold War had most certainly begun. The arrests came in Ottawa, Canada, with 12 of those working at the National Research Council.

The same day it was also announced Children’s Day, which it was stated had run for “15 years or so before the war” but was suspended during the conflict, was to resume on July 6.

Chairman of Leeds Elementary Schools Athletic Association T R Fieldsend said “After the unhappy void created by the last six years or war, the children deserve it.”

Later that week, on Tuesday February 19, it was reported that Loiners might taste “the first bananas in five years and three months” after a batch was delivered to an unknown warehouse in the city.

The bananas came from Jamaica and were taken to a warehouse in Leeds to ripen.

The article reads: “Bananas will be a new sight and taste for many children and even the depot men were handling them with something like reverence to-day [sic].”

The firm which imported the bananas, Elders and Fyffes, bought 137,000 bunches (there were eight to 10 dozen bananas to a bunch), with 8,350 bunches allocated to the Leeds area, which meant roughly 1lb per ration book for all persons over 18. The fixed price for bananas at the time was 1s 1d per lb, which worked out at each banana costing about two-and-three-quarter pence, although it was said bigger ones might cost threepence.

Meanwhile, it was also stated that the wartime practice of keeping allotments in public parks was to continue.

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