Catalogue description Records of Information and Publicity

Details of Division within MAF
Reference: Division within MAF
Title: Records of Information and Publicity

Records of the intelligence, general and information divisions, relating to publicity and publications.

The records relate to:

Date: 1910-1990
Related material:

Materials published for the Ministry by the Ministry of Information are in:



Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Intelligence Division, 1903-1919

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, General and Intelligence Division, 1941-1947

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, General Division, 1947-1954

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Intelligence Department, 1920-1927

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Intelligence Division, 1939-1941

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Information and Investigation Division, 1962-1965

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Information Division, 1955-1962

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Information Division, 1965-1991

Physical description: 12 series
Administrative / biographical background:

Intelligence, General and Information Divisions

When the Board of Agriculture was set up in 1889, Britain's agricultural industry was suffering the effects of a deep depression. While the government did not expect the board to be able to cure this situation, it was expected to be able to provide farmers with the necessary information to secure their own property. To this end an Intelligence Division was created which embraced not only educational activities, but also research, animal and horticultural work and some technical matters. The division was fragmented in 1919, but from 1920 to 1927 the technical and educational divisions, which were responsible to the chief scientific adviser, were grouped as the Intelligence Department.

In 1939 an Intelligence Division was re-established to deal with the ministry's public relations, including the extensive campaign to increase domestic food production and the liaison and secretarial work of the Council of Agriculture for England. Two years later it was expanded as the General and Intelligence Division, to cover the ministry's publications (notably its journal, first issued in 1894 as the Journal of the Board of Agriculture and subsequently named Agriculture) which had hitherto been the responsibility of a Publications Branch, as well as war damage business and the co-ordination of post-war policy (previously the function of the Statistical, Economics and Trade Relations Division). The War Damage Branch was transferred to Supplies Division III in the following year. Other activities of the General and Intelligence Division included: responsibilities for press briefings on major issues (conducted by a press officer) and including liaison with radio and television; dealing with enquiries from the public; collection of published information (books, periodicals and press cuttings) relating to the ministry's activities; assisting the work of the advisory services by exhibits and technical bulletins, films etc and particularly by attending the main agricultural shows; maintenance of the central ministry library. The division was also responsible for supplying information on ministry activities to the regions, by way of monthly reports to regional liaison officers and regular meetings between the minister and the liaison officers.

From 1947 to 1954 the division was known as the General Division and had general responsibilities for public relations, publicity, publications, exhibitions and for the ministry's libraries, and also had responsibility for arranging meetings between ministers and officials. In 1954 the division's name was changed to Information Division, though its basic functions were unaltered. In 1962 it was merged with the Investigation Division (the former Ministry of Food Enforcement Division) as the Information and Investigation Division. The investigation functions were passed to Establishment Division I in 1965, and the division reverted to the Information Division name. The division continues to supply information and library services to the ministry and the public, and operates a helpline for enquiries and a translation service to other parts of the ministry.

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