Blackwall –  Eating Out With Tommy Trinder (1941)

Eating Out With Tommy Trinder (1941) | Blackwall

Tommy Trinder was born in Streatham and grew up in Fulham rather than the East End, but made his name as a music hall act from around the age of 17 as part of Archie Pitt’s travelling variety comedy shows. Pitt’s troupe often appeared at the Queen’s Theatre, Poplar, London which was on poplar High Street between Cotton Street and Robin Hood Lane, near to where Blackwall DLR station is now. The Queen’s Theatre exterior can be seen in ‘Pool of London‘ (at Royal Victoria on the map). It was demolished in 1964 and the area has since been redeveloped.

Trinder was recruited to front ‘Eating Out With Tommy Trinder’, a six minute propaganda film made by the Strand Film Company for the Ministry of Information to promote British Restaurants. These were standardised cafeterias which could feed large numbers of people who’d run out of ration coupons or needed help avoiding malnutrition. By 1943, 2,160 British Restaurants served 600 000 affordable meals a day. The equivalent of charity-run food banks today, the Labour government had a political agenda for the British Restaurants as well, which was to act as a leveler in food consumption and guarantee nourishing meals to the working class poor. Some remained open until the 1960s. There was one in Cambridge till 1970.