Meals on wheels history


Meals on wheels started in Britain during the Second World War when many people's homes were destroyed during the Blitz. Because people were no longer able to cook the Women's Volunteer Service (later the WRVS) delivered meals and the first meals on wheels service was born. The name 'meals on wheels' was first used to describe the WVS deliveries of meals to servicemen.

Meals on wheels as we know it was an extension of this wartime service that commenced soon after the end of the Second World War. The first deliveries of meals were made by the WVS in Hemel Hempstead just north of London, England. The meals providers prepared the meals on wheels, plated it up and, in the absence of Thermo Boxes or any other type of insulated food transport boxes wrapped it in whatever insulated material they had available. Whilst we now have strict hygiene rules which dictate what methods can be used to hold and insulate the food, in those days' blankets, straw bales and old clothes were used to keep food warm.