Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home Front

During the Second World War the elegant Radnorshire Spa town of Llandrindod was seen as something of a safe haven, remote from the bombed cities of England and Wales.

The number of well-to-do folk seeking refuge in the town provided a few local landlords with the opportunity for a spot of war-time profiteering. One local Alderman, for example, bought and furnished a house for £850, which he then let out for the princely sum of 10 guineas a week - the house having previously been let, unfurnished, for 7/6*.

Now there were strict wartime regulations against such profiteering and the Alderman soon found himself before the local bench, of which he was himself a senior member. Unsurprisingly the town's magistrates found him not guilty, a verdict which seemed par for the course for cases of rent racketeering in which they sat in judgement.

Having perhaps given up on the local magistrates, the authorities moved one well-publicised case of black marketeering to a Cardiganshire bench. This involved a retired naval officer who had come to Llandrindod to sit out the war and was receiving groceries from a local shop without being registered to do so. The Commander's wife did not help her husband's cause when she complained to the investigating officer that, "We are not nobodies. We are gentry, and during this war the gentry have had to put up with a lot of rudeness."

Unmoved by the good lady's heartfelt analysis of contemporary social trends the Cardiganshire magistrates fined her husband an eye-watering £380 with £21 costs ..... the grocer got away with a tenner.

* I apologize to any younger readers confused by the terminology of proper money, blame Ted Heath Harold Wilson.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Decimal Currency Act was passed in May 1969. So 'blame' Harold Wilson.