The distribution of meat to the public would be jeopardised if more butchers were called up

There were concerns that if butchers were called up no one would be left to prepare meats for sale to the public.

30th September 1918

The Committee nominated the Mayor as the representative of the Food Control Committee on the Committee recently formed to deal with applications for exemption before the Local Tribunal in respect of men engaged in food production and distribution. A deputation from the Butchers’ Committee attended the Committee, and submitted a statement showing that the number of slaughtermen and shopmen employed by the butchers in 1914 was 43; that since that date four butchers’ businesses have been closed down, throwing additional work upon the remaining butchers; and that the present staffs consisted of 14 employees which might, if exemption was not granted in certain cases, be reduced to ten; that the total number of registered customers served by the butchers was 21,474. The deputation stated that if the present staff was further depleted a very serious position was in sight and the distribution of meat to the public would be jeopardised. The Committee instructed the Executive Officer to send a copy of the statement laid before them to the Divisional Ministry of Food and to state that the Committee viewed the position with very considerable apprehension, and requesting that no time should be lost by the Ministry in taking up the matter with the Minister of National Service with a view of a stop being put to any further depletion of the present butchers’ staffs; and further that the Food Control Committee would not accept any responsibility for anything that might happen with regard to the preparation or distribution of meat to the public if there was any further depletion in the butchers’ present staffs.

The Committee approved applications by Mr Keen and Mr Love for permission to sell cooked meats and pies, which complied with the regulations, without coupons.

The Milk Winter Prices Order, 1918, was further considered and the Committee decided that the maximum retail price of milk delivered to purchasers for the months October to April next should be at a flat rate of 3s per gallon, and the Executive Officer was requested to notify the Ministry accordingly.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

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A question of damsons

It was sometimes tricky to establish what should be rationed.

23rd September

The Milk (Winter) Prices Order was considered, and it was decided that for the present, until information was obtained as to maximum retail prices fixed in the adjoining districts, the maximum retail price of milk delivered to purchasers for the month of October should be three shillings per imperial gallon.

The report of the Enforcement Officer with reference to the sale by retailers of damsons was considered, and having regard to the fact that it was doubtful whether the fruit in question were damsons or damson plums within the meaning of the Damsons (Sales) Order 1918 the Committee decided that no action be taken.

A further report of the Enforcement Officer with regard to the slaughter of certain calves in contravention of the provisions of the Calves (Sales) Order 1918 was considered, and the Divisional Ministry was requested to take up the matter. The Enforcement Officer also reported certain facts with regard to the slaughter and disposal of a pig under circumstances which the Committee did not consider warranted further action.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Exemption from military service for men engaged in food production and distribution

Those involved with food control were also asked to monitor the calling up of essential employees.

26th August.

Meeting of Sub-committee to consider correspondence which had passed with the Divisional Ministry of Food with reference to the nomination of a representative of that body on a committee which had been appointed to deal with applications for exemption from military service before the Local Tribunal in respect of men engaged in food production and distribution.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Priority milk for mothers and children when occasion should arise

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee was concerned about supplies of meat and milk.

13th August.

It was decided that a charge should be made of 6d per Ration Book I respect of lost Ration Books, the loss of which could not be satisfactorily explained.

The Committee had under consideration a proposal by certain butchers for the closing of their shops at the end of the current month in order to give their employees a much needed rest. The Committee in the interest of the public were unable to sanction the proposal unless some arrangement could be made which would leave the shops open from say Saturday to the following Friday.

Complaints by two milk retailers that their producers would be unable to supply them with the quantity of milk after the 29th September next, were before the Committee. The producers were to be communicated with and asked for their reasons for stoppage of supply.

The Committee decided to formally adopt the Milk Supply (Priority) Scheme in order that they may be in a position to deal with the supply of priority milk for mothers and children when occasion should arise.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

The future calling up of men engaged in food production work

Under the Food Control system, people were required to use their ration cards at specific retailers.

4th July 1918

The Committee decided that all applications by consumers to change their registered retailer might be granted.

The Committee had under consideration certain facts with regard to a sale of bacon at a price exceeding the maximum retail price to a customer outside the district, and having regard to the circumstances, the Divisional Commissioner was requested to initiate a prosecution.

A warning was to be addressed to a retailer of sugar with regard to the deficiency which had occurred to her stock in hand.

The Committee considered it desirable, having regard to the calling up of persons employed in the distribution of food, particularly butchers, that there should be a consultation between the Local Food Control Committee, the National Service representative and a representative of the Divisional Food Ministry with reference to the future calling up of men engaged in this work.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Dispose of bacon before the meat became unsound

Meat which might go off was allowed to be sold without ration cards.

28th June 1918

An application by a retailer to sell bacon and hams without coupons in order to dispose of same before the meat became unsound, at a maximum price of 1s 6d per lb, was sanctioned.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

No local Tea rationing necessary

Newbury set parameters for the use of potatoes in making bread.

21st June 1918

The Committee considered a recommendation from the Rural District Council with reference to the rationing of Tea, and considered that no local Tea rationing was necessary.

A complaint with regard to the sale of sugar to a retailer was to be referred to the Sugar Commission.

An application for the re-opening of the Bread Business carried on by the late Mr Keep was approved.

The Committee decided that the quantity of potatoes to be used in the manufacture of bread should be 15 lbs, to 280 lbs of flour until the 30th of October next, and 20 lbs to 280 lbs of flour after that date.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Registration of retailers of Sweetmeats

Some people had allegedly sneakily acquired two lots of ration cards.

7th June 1918

Applications for registration as retailers of Sweetmeats were considered. The Committee, in view of the Regulations issued by the Ministry, were unable to sanction the same.

The Committee had under consideration certain information which would seem to suggest that two applications had been made, one in this district, and one outside, for supplementary ration cards, which had been granted in each case, and the Executive Officer was instructed to investigate the matter.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Sub-committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

Compulsory powers for the use of potatoes in making bread in order to obtain uniformity within the district

Tea was set to be the next item on the rationing list.

17th May 1918

A Memo. From the Ministry of Food with reference to the proposed system of Tea Distribution based on the registration of customers, was considered. The Committee expressed themselves in favour of compulsory rationing throughout the Kingdom, but considered the ration proposed by the Ministry to be insufficient.

A Circular letter with reference to the National Kitchens Order 1918 as to the desirability of providing a National Kitchen for this area, was considered; but as the matter was under consideration of the Education Committee, it was considered desirable to await the result of that Committee’s report.

The Committee considered it desirable to obtain compulsory powers for the use of potatoes in making bread in order to obtain uniformity within the district, and the Executive Officer was instructed to communicate with the Ministry accordingly.

A special supply of jam having been obtained, the Committee decided that the same should be distributed through the medium of customers’ margarine cards, which were to be specially marked.

Surplus butter was allowed to be preserved up to 10 lbs per person until the 1st July next.

Newbury Borough Council Food Control Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/9)

The necessity of an equal distribution of all foodstuffs

Newbury was preparing to implement food rationing.

Meetings of the [Food Control] Committee and Sub-Committee were held on the 22nd December 1917, the 7th, 16th, 23rd, 25th, 28th and 31st of January last, and the 11th, 15th and 19th of February inst.

A meeting of Representatives of the Food Control Committee for the Borough of Newbury and the adjoining Rural Districts was held on the 21st of December, 1917, at which meeting a resolution was passed that it was desirable that a general rationing scheme for the Areas should be prepared, which was accordingly done, and approved by the Food Control Committee. At a further meeting of the Representative bodies on the 31st January last, it was resolved that steps be taken to obtain immediate official sanction of the scheme, which it was proposed should be brought into operation on the 25th March next.

Subsequently, the Divisional Commissioner having declined to approve the scheme on the ground that it was now proposed to bring in a general scheme for the whole of the South West Division, based on the London and Home Counties Food Scheme, to come into operation on the 25th March next, the Committee decided not to press forward the local scheme, but to make the necessary arrangements for bringing into operation the Divisional Scheme on the above mentioned date, and appointed a sub-committee consisting of the Mayor, Alderman Lucas, Councillor Geater, Mr Godding, and Mr Draper, with power to add to their number, to consider and take such steps as might be necessary with regard to the matter. The Committee at their meetings had also under their consideration the following matters:

1. The distribution of margarine based on the sugar card system, and the arrangement made by the sub-committee in charge of the distribution have now been effectual in preventing the assembly of any queues.

2. A fair and equal distribution of the meat supply, which presented very considerable difficulties, having regard to the quantity which the retail butchers were permitted to sell per week, and to the large numbers of people from areas outside the Borough, but who now come into Newbury for their meat supply. The difficulty has been more or less overcome by the retail butchers being permitted to supply only 3/4 lbs of meat per person per week, and on production of sugar cards, which were to be marked; it is apparent, however, that a satisfactory distribution can only be obtained by means of the introduction of rationing cards.

A Deputation of the National Union of Railwaymen, on behalf of their Society and the general working men, attended the meeting of the Committee on the 11th February last and urged upon them the necessity of an equal distribution of all foodstuffs, including cheese, and other kindred matters, which were fully discussed with the deputation, who were informed as to the exact position of the meat and margarine supplies, and assured that everything was being done by the Committee to bring about the desired end, and they expressed themselves satisfied with their interview.

The Enforcement Officer of the Committee reported from time to time upon the work undertaken by him, and prosecutions were ordered for breaches of the Orders issued by the Ministry of Food.

The Sub-committee appointed to take charge of the arrangements in connection with the rationing scheme, decided as follows:

Application forms to be delivered to every householder in the Borough, by a sufficient staff of volunteer helpers, who will at the same time bring away the application forms completed, and where necessary, assist the applicant to fill up the forms.

This to be done by the 5th March.

Each Volunteer will then apply to the Local Food Office for ration cards, for the applicants in his district, and after filling up the same, will deliver same to the Food Office for stamping.

After the ration cards are stamped, the same will be distributed to the applicants, on production of their sugar cards, at the Corn Exchange, at a date to be publicly announced: –

And have issued a public notice to the above effect; they propose to follow the same course as was adopted in 1915 for the distribution of the National Registration papers, and have approached the Education Committee for the enlistment of the services of the teaching staffs in the schools, with whose co-operation they have no doubt of being able to carry through the necessary arrangements to a successful conclusion.

Report of Food Control Committee to Newbury Borough Council meeting, 26 February 1918 (N/AC1/2/9)

“A communal store would have destroyed any idea among the workers that the rich could get supplied at the expense of the poor”

Union members in Reading were vigilant in the cause of rationing.

Reading and District Trade Union Branch News and Notes

General Workers’ Union

The way in which members are subscribing towards the children’s entertainment is extremely gratifying, showing that our members realise that they owe something to the youngsters whose fathers are away doing their duty.

The entertainment will be held in our hall towards the end of January…

At the District Council on December 15 … Bro. J R Clynes, MP, attended to answer an adverse and critical resolution which was on the agenda on the Food Control business. After his speech, which gave a good deal of information which his critics were not possessed of previously, the resolution was lost by a large majority.

No doubt he has a very difficult task to perform, but with our knowledge of his ability and steadfast work in the interest of the workers we do not doubt that his position has and will result in benefitting us all as consumers.

As a Union we are doing all we can locally to tackle the food question here. Bros Knight and Russell have had interviews with the District Food Commissioner and the Mayor, and also have attended a Conference with the Food Control Committee and representatives of the traders, and it is hoped that with the cooperation of the people of Reading there will soon be in operation a scheme which will ensure the equal distribution of available tea, butter, margarine, and lard. It is a pity the idea of a communal store was not accepted for this scheme. It would have been an interesting experiment, and would have destroyed any idea among the workers that the rich could get supplied at the expense of the poor. However, we must all co-operate, and not fail to report any case of departure from the regulations to the Food Control Secretary.


The Reading Worker: The Official Journal of Organised Labour in Reading and District, no. 13, January 1918 (D/EX1485/10/1/1)

“The nation generally has not yet realised the gravity of the situation”

Cranbourne people were encouraged to invest their savings in the war effort.

The Sunday School was crowded on Thursday, March 8th, when Mrs. Boyce gave a very vigorous address on “Food Saving.” She said that the nation generally had not yet realised the gravity of the situation, and the necessity for the control of food. We had suffered from want of foresight on the part of the Government, not merely during the early months of the War, but during the work and self-sacrifice of us who remain in the safety of our homes.

Our Sailors and Soldiers are doing their bit. We also have to do our bit by using as sparingly as possible all commodities that are sea-borne.

Mr. Creasy after spoke on the subject of war-savings.

It may interest residents of Cranbourne to know that a National War Savings Association has been started, and up to date 134 people have joined. Anyone may join, and a card is supplied. The subscriptions are paid by buying sixpenny coupons and affixing them to the cards. When a member has 31 sixpenny coupons on his card a War Savings Certificate will then be given in exchange for the completed card.

War Savings Certificates for 15/6 may, if desired, be purchased outright. The money paid by each person is sent at once to the Treasury, London, it is in fact money lent to the Government, who in return give generous terms. For 15/6 the Government agree in five years to give one pound sterling.

All the money collected is spent on the Army and Navy to provide men, ships, guns and munitions to terminate this great war.

The more money each individual leads the Government the sooner relations and friends will return to their homes and settle down to a peaceful life once more.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, April 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/4)

The use of the Wash Common Recreation Ground as allotments

Newbury Borough Council was prepared to hand over a local recreation ground for vegetable growing.

Tuesday, January 16th, 1917

Cultivation of land for food production

A communication was received from the Newbury District Gardeners Mutual Improvement Association, urging the importance of utilising available land for food production purposes. The Committee desire it to be known that they would be prepared to entertain applications for the use of the Wash Common Recreation Ground as allotments, at a nominal rent, the applicants being responsible for the clearing and preparing of the ground.

Cultivation of Lands Order, 1916

A circular letter was laid before the Committee from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries relative to the Regulation made by Order in Council under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, with the object of increasing the food supplies of the country by extending the existing powers of providing land for cultivation.

By an Order made by the Board in pursuance of this Regulation, allotment authorities in urban areas are empowered to exercise on behalf of the Board the powers conferred by the Regulation, viz the taking possession of (1) unoccupied land, without the necessity of obtaining any consents; (2) occupied land, by agreement with the owner and occupier, and (3) common land, with the consent of the Board. The Board out that in exercising the powers conferred by the Order, Councils will be acting on behalf of the Board, and that no charge will fall on the local rates. The Committee considered the desirability of utilising the powers thus conferred upon the Council, and, while it would seem that the terms of the Board’s letter preclude the use of such a site as Northcroft, the Committee feel that the owner of the vacant land on the eastern side of Rockingham Road might be approached with a view to the acquiring of a portion of such land, should a demand exist for additional land for cultivation as allotments.

Distribution of Seed Potatoes

A letter from the Agricultural Organiser for Berkshire was received, asking the Council to appoint a local correspondent for the carrying out in the Borough of the scheme for the distribution of seed potatoes, as supplied through the Board of Agriculture. In view of the early date by which returns have to be presented as to any quantity of potatoes it may be desired to acquire on the special terms offered by the scheme, the Town Clerk was directed to pass on the communications which had been received to the Newbury and District Gardeners’ Mutual Improvement Association, with a suggestion that they should utilise the scheme in accordance with any local needs of which they may have knowledge.

Newbury Borough Council: Estates, Markets and Bye-laws Committee minutes (N/AC1/2/8)