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The Diaries and Letters of Lord Woolton 1940-1945$
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Michael Kandiah and Judith Rowbotham

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266847

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266847.001.0001

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I Overview

I Overview

I Overview
The Diaries and Letters of Lord Woolton 1940-1945
Michael Kandiah, Judith Rowbotham
British Academy

In four sections, the Introduction provides an overview, outlining the methodology and approach chosen by the editors, going on to explore Woolton, the Man, assessing his personal background as a factor in his actions as Minister of Food. This includes his emergence from a working-class background via education, his time pre-1914 as a social worker, as Warden of Liverpool’s David Lewis Trust and the University settlement, and his interwar emergence as a philanthropically-guided businessman, including the emergence of a key Northern Circle of influential friends – something with a significant impact on his understanding of his role as Minister of Food and then of Reconstruction. It also provides a survey of the background context to the Ministry of Food, including its move to Colwyn Bay under Woolton’s direction, exploring how the move of the main establishment there was kept out of public consciousness, and providing insights into how Woolton ran his split-site Ministry, with key figures like Sir Henry French and John Redcliffe-Maud. The construction of the new Ministry of Reconstruction is also explored, including the importance of Woolton’s non-party status, discussion of the challenges Woolton faced, his relations with Churchill and other key politicians including his good personal friend Attlee.

Keywords:   Woolton biography, Ministry of Food, Ministry of Reconstruction, Liverpool, Churchill, Attlee, British government, World War Two, Government policymaking

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