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Food (War) Committee of the Royal Society

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0117 MS 527
Held at: Royal Society
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Full title: Food (War) Committee of the Royal Society
Date(s): 1916-1919
Level of description: Sub-fonds
Extent: 84 folders
Name of creator(s): Food (War) Committee | Royal Society
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Food (War) Committee was founded in 1915 to act as a scientific advisory body to government bodies regulating food policy, trade and distribution, and rationing schemes in the food shortage of WWI. Composed of eminent biochemists, physiologists, agricultural scientists and economists, headed by William B Hardy, Secretary of the Royal Society. Prominent members include physiologists A D Waller, D Noel Paton, E P Cathcart, F G Hopkins, and W M Bayliss; agriculturalists T H Middleton, and T B Wood, and economist William J Ashley. The Committee undertook pioneering work in researching dietary requirements, arriving at the minimum calorie needs to maintain a body at rest, and investigating the calorie requirements of different classes of workers. They advised against rationing of bread and developed distribution schemes based on sound science. Most of the correspondence deals with these research interests and policy advice.

Topics addressed include diet and mental work, scurvy and beriberi, nitrogen in the diet, early work on vitamins, and investigation of alternate food sources such as soya beans, cocoa butter, banana chips, and saccharine [MS/527/2]. The most successful scheme involved a public campaign to collect horse chestnuts to use in producing acetone for munitions manufacture, so that cereals usually used for this purpose could be saved to increase the nation's supply.


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence, agendas, memos, drafts and printed reports on topics investigated by the Food (War) Committee of the Royal Society, and the day to day committee business.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also the Committee minute books, CMB/72 and CMB/73.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Royal Society catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Feb 2009.

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