Catalogue description Ministry of Reconstruction: Records

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Details of RECO 1
Reference: RECO 1
Title: Ministry of Reconstruction: Records

Papers of the Ministry of Reconstruction, of the two Reconstruction Committees of the Cabinet which preceded it, and of various committees and sub-committees appointed by them.

The files include a few papers of earlier and later dates. Some papers relate to committees appointed by other departments, including the Ministry of Blockade, the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Munitions and the War Cabinet and some files concern the Ministry of Pensions and the Ministry of National Service.

Date: 1915-1921

No attempt has been made to distinguish records of the ministry from those of the Reconstruction Committees although some files relate specifically to the latter. Some later file titles include both the ministries of Reconstruction and National Service.

Originally this series was arranged under references RECO 1/1-90; since relisting these are now defunct and the records now bear new piece numbers RECO 1/91-937. RECO 1/938-963 were added to the series during relisting. A key giving old and new piece numbers has been provided.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 964 boxes and files
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure
Publication note:

A fuller description of the work of the Ministry of Reconstruction can be found in the published report on the ministry (Cd 9231/1919).

Administrative / biographical background:

Sub Committees of the first Reconstruction Committee included the Commercial and Industrial Policy Committee, the Demobilisation of the Army Committee, the Acquisition of Powers Committee and the Forestry Committee. Other bodies investigated agriculture, mining, employers associations, aspects of education and women's employment.

New sub committees formed by the second Reconstruction Committee included the Acquisition and Valuation of Land Committee, the Adult Education Committee, the Civil War Workers' Committee, the Local Government Committee and the Machinery of Government Committee. Other bodies investigated road transport and shipping.

Panels of the Reconstruction Committee itself included the short-lived Wages and Employment Panel, which dealt with the Whitley report and the creation of joint industrial councils, and which was subsequently absorbed into the Local Government Committee; and a panel dealing with housing, which considered problems associated with the supply of building materials, postwar controls on the acquisition of land, and state subsidies to private builders, and which drew up extensive programmes of public housing.

The various sections of the Advisory Council and the Women's Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Reconstruction all established subcommittees to deal with special subjects; various other new committees were created to supplement the work of those taken over from the Reconstruction Committee. Several were involved in the postwar recovery of industry and trade.

Some subcommittees investigated fiscal aspects of the problem, notably the Financial Risks Committee, the Financial Facilities for Trade Committee and the Currency and Foreign Exchanges Committee. Others considered more obvious aspects of industrial recovery - like the Committee on Trusts, the Engineering Trades (New Industries) Committee and the Committee on Storage and Transit. Concern over raw materials led to the creation of the Central Committee on Supplies of Materials.

Housing was the other main focus of attention. Several new bodies examined postwar plans; a Building Materials Supply Committee recommended controls on supply and distribution, the Housing (Financial Assistance) Committee examined the funding of postwar schemes, the Committee on the Increase of Rent and Mortgage (War Restriction Act) looked at the consequences of ending wartime controls.

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