Witchcraft and Wizardry takes place in a different time, and many things distinguish this era from the modern way of life. Most of the information on this page is describing Muggle Britain of the era, though even the wizarding world is influenced by Muggle culture (often in strange ways).


Air Raid Precautions

Britain suffered bombing from German zeppelins during the Great War, and began preparing for air raids as early as 1935.

  • Gas Masks have been issued to nearly every man, woman, and child in Britain, beginning in 1939.
  • Air Raid Shelters called Anderson Shelters have been built in many family gardens.
  • The Blackout began September 1, 1939. Homes and business may not emit any light into the street at night, car headlights are dimmed, and streetlights are shut off.
  • Air Raid Wardens, volunteers who wear an armband and a helmet marked with a large W, patrol and enforce the Blackout and other air raid precautions. Violations can result in steep fines.
  • Air Raid Sirens and warblers sound in the event of an air raid. Civilians report to air raid shelters when the alarms sound, and must bring their gas masks, ration books, and national identity card with them.

Conscription (National Service)

Conscription in the Armed Forces began in 1939, first under the Military Training Act and then, after the beginning of the war on 3 September, the National Service (Armed Forces) Act. The Military Training Act only applied to men 20-22 years old, but this was soon expanded:

  • The National Service act made British subjects aged 18-41 liable for conscription into the Armed Forces. This was extended to age 51 in 1942.
  • Women aged 20-30 resident in Britain were liable to be called up beginning in 1942, unless they had children under age 14. In practice, pregnant women were also not called up.
  • Reserved Professions were those important to the war economy, such as shipbuilding, coal mining, and farming. Persons serving in reserved professions were not subject to conscription for national service.
  • Conscientious Objectors were sometimes excused from service and in other circumstances were required to perform civilian or non-combat service.


Beginning in 1940, clothing is rationed, and government-sanctioned patterns are released in 1941, so called utility clothing.


Menswear of the 1930s was similar to that of the earlier decades of the century. Men tended to wear a lounge suit (a business suit) of wool, flannel, or tweed for daywear, often a three piece suit with a waistcoat (vest). Jackets were cut wide at the shoulders and narrow at the hips, with large lapels. Trousers were loose-fitting and wide-legged, and featured turn-ups (cuffs). For the country, or for activities such as hunting, a man would generally wear a tweed suit with heavy brogue (wingtip) shoes or boots. Tweed suits also included knickerbocker trousers, also called plus-fours, and high socks.

After the start of the war, fabric became rationed, and suit styles changed accordingly. The vest was increasingly omitted, lapels became narrower, and turn-ups disappeared from mens' trousers.


Women's clothing of the 1930s included structured jackets and blouses and bias-cut skirts. Once the war started, skirts became shorter, the government prohibited bias cuts, and many women remade old men's suits into women's suits as part of the make and mend initiative. As a result, women's fashions of the 1940s had a distinctly masculine cut (especially shoulder pads), simpler patterns, and less ornamentation.


The most common form of children's attire for boys was the so-called 'buster suit' - a shirt and shorts of coordinating or matching fabric that buttoned together at the waist. Boys of all ages below the mid-teens tended to wear short pants, and didn't change to long trousers until their mid-teens.

Girls fashion of the 1930s was influenced by Shirley Temple and the young Princess Elizabeth and her sisters. Knee-length Party dresses, with frills and ribbon, were very popular, and are available in a large variety of fabrics and patterns.


Identity Cards

Since 1939, all men, women, and children in the United Kingdom must carry a National Identity Card. Early in the war, it is buff (tan-colored) for all ages, and contains name, age, address, and profession. The military and government have their own identity cards as well. Government employees cards are green, and include a photograph.

Civilians must carry their identity cards at all times, must present them on demand of police or members of the Armed Forces, and need the card to redeem ration coupons for rationed food and other items.


During the era of the game, the British functioned on the system of pounds, shillings, and pence (LSD or £sd). Generally speaking, prices would be given with slashes between - e.g. £5/3/6 would be five pounds, three shillings, and six pence, and would be spoken as 'five pounds three and six." Pounds were always labeled as such, so 4/5 would be four shillings and five pence ("four and five"), whereas 4/- would be four shillings (and said that way).

English money of the era tended to be large (the penny was 1¼ inches in diameter) and heavy (each penny weighed a third of an ounce). A pound's worth of penny coins (240) would weigh 5 pounds!

Coin Value Notes
Farthing ¼d Smallest coin in circulation.
Half Penny ½d Called a ha'penny.
Penny 1d Large and heavy.
Three Pence 3d Called a 'thruppenny bit', and worth a thruppence.
Six Pence 6d Called a 'tanner'.
Shilling 1/- Called a 'bob'.
Florin 2/- Worth two shillings.
Half-Crown 2/6 Two shillings and six pence, half the value of a crown.
Crown 5/- Legal tender, but more of a collectible issued on special occasions and given as gifts.

Pennies and smaller coins were collectively called coppers, while large coins were silver. The sovereign is a gold coin worth £1, last minted in 1929. The guinea, an obsolete coin, is worth £1/1/- (one pound, one shilling), and is still used as a unit of account. It is considered more 'gentlemanly' to use guineas, so, for example, one might pay ones barrister, wager, or purchase a racehorse in that denomination instead of pounds.

Bank notes (paper money) are issued in denominations of 10 shillings ('ten bob' or 'half a quid'), £1 ('quid' or 'nicker'), £5 (a 'fiver'), £10 (a 'tenner'), and higher denominations. There are, of course, many, many more slang terms relating to money in general and in specific amounts, both in common usage and in Cockney slang.

More information on money, the conversion of Muggle to Wizarding currency, average income, and the cost of good and services can be found on the Economy page.



  • Petrol (Gasoline) was rationed beginning in September 1939. By 1941, petrol is available only for official use, such as government and military vehicles.
  • Meat Meat begins to be rationed soon after petrol.
  • Other Food Other foods become rationed in earnest in 1940. Britons are encouraged to grow vegetables in victory gardens. Pregnant women and children have priority for fresh fruit and milk.
  • Clothing Clothing is rationed beginning in 1940, with official government sanctioned patterns released in 1941. The number of clothing coupons decreases steadily throughout the war years, and by 1943 a new winter coat would consume a persons entire allotment for the year.

All Britons, adult and children alike, are issued ration books, which must be carried at all times. Notably, however, restaurants were exempt from the rationing scheme, so working civilians could eat out during the day to extend their rationed food.


Here are some examples of slang terms used in 1930's England.

berry a one-pound note
blow your wig become very excited
brodie mistake
egg a crude person
evil in a bad mood
gaff place of residence or work (e.g."My gaff is just around the corner.")
honey cooler kiss
juicy enjoyable
Mitt me kid! Congratulate me
Murder! Wow!
Nuts! Telling someone that they are full of nonsense
shake a leg hurry up
snipe cigarette
tin can/flivver car
twit fool or idiot
Yo! Yes
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