Catalogue description Ministry of Food and Board of Trade Food Departments 1916-1936

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Details of MAF 60
Reference: MAF 60
Title: Ministry of Food and Board of Trade Food Departments 1916-1936

The material selected for preservation consists of records of the first Ministry of Food including some papers inherited from other Departments) and records of the Board of Trade, Food Department which succeeded it. Many pre-1936 files were registered or re-registered in 1937 by the Board of Trade, Food (Defence Plans) Department (this fact explains the existence of an FD file series consisting mainly of papers earlier than 1936. The series contains only a few papers later than 1936, but some Board of Trade material has been incorporated in the records of the second Ministry of Food, established in 1939.

These records include:

(1) Materials relating to the history of the Ministry of Food, 1917-1921 including a 'General Memorandum of Instruction', 14 Appendices, 2 subsidiary 'Historical Files', and a number of 'Documentary Files' containing specimens of the various forms, circulars, etc. issued by the ministry to which reference is made in the memorandum and appendices.

(2) Memoranda and specimen forms used by the ministry and kept for record purposes.

(3) Correspondence and papers of Mr. U.F. Wintour, C.B., C.M.G. accumulated as Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Food, June, 1917 to September, 1918.

(4) Cabinet papers and memoranda which were in the custody of Lachlan MacLean, C.B., O.B.E., C.St.J., a senior officer of the first Ministry of Food, when he transferred to the Board of Trade Food Department; and remained with him until his later service with the second Ministry of Food.

(5) Files registered (or re-registered) by the Board of Trade Food (Defence Plans) Department which originated as records of the first Ministry of Food and of the Board of Trade Food Departments

(6) Unregistered correspondence and papers spanning the period 1916 to 1924 including the diaries of two permanent secretaries.

(7) A few sets of surviving minutes of meetings of a small number of local Food Control Committees.

Date: 1913-1947
Related material:

Others material relating to the Wheat Supplies Commission see the Anderson Papers in PRO 30/68

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Trade, Food (Defence Plans) Department, 1937-1939

Board of Trade, Food Department, 1921-1936

Ministry of Food, 1916-1921

Royal Commission on Sugar Supplies, 1914-1921

Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies, 1916-1921

Physical description: 588 file(s)
Administrative / biographical background:

The new Ministry of Food took over the control of oils and fats from the Ministry of Munitions, that of cheese and frozen fish from the Board of Trade, that of food preservation from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, that of the food economy campaign from the War Savings Committee, and that of oats from the War Office. In 1919, the ministry's National Kitchens Division took over for a short time the responsibility for refreshment facilities in the Royal Parks. These had previously been the charge of the Office of Works. The ministry also absorbed various ad hoc bodies which had been set up to deal with difficulties over particular commodities, notably sugar and wheat. It purchased almost all imported foodstuffs as well as home-produced supplies of meat and potatoes. It organised rationing of sugar, meat, butter, margarine, lard, tea and jam, and imposed price control over a much wider range of foodstuffs. A Food Council was appointed by the food controller in September 1918 to consider general questions of food policy. After the war the ministry acquired the Road Transport Board and the Meat Supplies Department from the Board of Trade, but its activities were run down steadily as food became more plentiful, rationing being abolished in 1920.

A Royal Commission on Sugar Supplies was established by Order in Council on 20 August 1914 with power to purchase, sell and regulate the supply of sugar on behalf of the government. It became a section of the Ministry of Food in 1917 but its organisation was never merged with that of the ministry and it retained considerable independence. The commission was wound up in 1921.

A Royal Commission on Wheat Supplies was set up by Order in Council on 27 October 1916, with power to regulate the supply of wheat, other grains and flour. From 1 November 1917 it became administratively a division of the Ministry of Food, though it retained considerable independence. It was wound up in 1921.

In 1918 a Consumer's Council was established to enlist the cooperation of the organised working classes and the Cooperative Movement. It functioned to some extent independently of the ministry.

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