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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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Minister of Reconstruction, 1943-1945

Minister of Reconstruction, 1943-1945

(p.231) Section Five Minister of Reconstruction, 1943-1945
The Diaries and Letters of Lord Woolton 1940-1945
Michael Kandiah, Judith Rowbotham
British Academy

The remaining diary extracts and correspondence, thematically arranged, with extensive footnotes identifying newspaper coverage of Woolton’s policies and actions on moving to set up and manage the new Ministry of Reconstruction. Woolton ceased keeping his Diary on moving to Reconstruction, but in the few diary entries he made covering the period of transition, his entries reveal his emotions on leaving the Ministry of Food and his opinion of his successor, as well as some indication of the reactions of Ministry staff in London and Colwyn Bay on his departure. Also briefly covered is the initial sense of challenge in establishing the new Ministry. These entries and his correspondence reveal Woolton’s thinking about the role of the new Ministry, and his own one as Minister. What is also revealed is his consciousness of the importance of the Ministry and the Minister acting as a non-party forum for the discussion of post-war reconstruction. His relations with Churchill and Attlee, and his continuing (if low key) engagement with the public are also revealed. The chapter reveals the evolution of the key cross-party white papers outlining plans for post-war reconstruction, including the wartime white paper on a future National Health service.

Keywords:   Reconstruction, Housing, Employment, Health, Churchill, Attlee, World War Two, Government policymaking, Post-war planning

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