Catalogue description Board of Trade and successors: Food (Defence Plans) Department: Registered Files

Search within or browse this series to find specific records of interest.

Date range

Details of MAF 72
Reference: MAF 72
Title: Board of Trade and successors: Food (Defence Plans) Department: Registered Files

Files dealing with plans to procure, control and distribute food in wartime, and the co-ordination of food supply policy with other departments. The series contains some later papers of the second Ministry of Food, and records of the Overseas Purchases Board. It also includes papers of Sir Ernest Gowers resulting from an enquiry into food storage problems.

Date: 1935-1992
Related material:

See also the emergency services, regional and local planning file series in MAF 341

For related papers on Animal Feeding Stuffs see MAF 79

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

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

Ministry of Food, 1939-1955

Overseas Purchases Board, 1935-1936

Physical description: 730 file(s)
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Administrative / biographical background:

The Food (Defence Plans) Department was created in December 1938 as a sub-department of the Board of Trade. Its purpose was to formulate plans for the procurement, control and distribution of food during a major war. The department maintained close contact with the Minister for Co-ordination of Defence, the Committee of Imperial Defence and its sub-committees on Food Supply in Time of War and Distribution of Imports in Time of War, the General Department of the Board of Trade, the Air Raid Precautions Department of the Home Office and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It also maintained liaison with Sir Ernest Gowers about the storage of food and consulted the Treasury and other departments as necessary.

The department prepared advance plans for execution by the Board of Trade immediately on the outbreak of war, and by the Ministry of Food as soon as it was constituted. The headquarters and local organisations were based on the existing procurement and distributive machinery operated by private traders. On the approach of war, substantial reserve stocks of whale oil (for the manufacture of margarine), wheat and sugar were bought without disturbing sensitive world markets. Ration books and other rationing documents were designed, printed and stored at strategic points while the necessary legislation was drafted. Arrangements were made for the setting up of local food offices and local food control committees within the framework of local government.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research