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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/RC/GEN
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1940-1956
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 4.77 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

Following the heavy enemy air raids of September 1940, the Council set up the Londoners' Meals Service as a separate Department with its own Chief Officer to control emergency feeding centres and to provide school meals for non-evacuated children in need of them. As the scale of air raid attacks diminished, the service developed into a network of restaurants and the Civic Restaurants Act, 1947 empowered local authorities to continue the provision of this service under normal peace-time conditions provided it was not run at a loss. In 1948, the Department was renamed Restaurants and Catering Deptartment.

From 1941, it had assumed the additional responsibility for canteens at ambulance and civil defence establishments and it also later undertook the catering arrangements at County Hall and other large offices of the Council.

On 1 June 1954, the Council decided to transfer to the Chief Officer of Supplies the responsibility for civic restaurants and the Restaurants and Catering Department was re-designated the School Meals and Catering Department, with responsibility solely for school meals and catering at staff restaurants in Council offices, etc. On 19 October 1954 the Council was informed that, as its civic restaurant service was not paying its way, the Minister of Food had decided upon its discontinuance and all such restaurants were closed by the end of February 1955.

From the end of 1959, the Department took over additionally the work and assets of the Invalid Meals for London organisation (formerly Invalid Kitchens of London), the company being finally dissolved in November 1964.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Restaurant and Catering Department (later the School Meals and Catering Department), 1940-1956, including a history of the Londoners' Meals Service (1944); correspondence with the Ministry of Food; papers of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the organisation of the Londoners' Meals Service; papers on the delegation of powers to Borough Councils under the Civic Restaurants Act 1947; annual accounts and reports on operations; papers on the re-organisation of the Restaurants and Catering Department; paper by Chief Officer on 'Emergency Feeding in London, the Experience of World War II and Plans for the Future', given at the Combined Conference on Administrative and Scientific Problems of Food Aspects of Civil Defence; general files on meals for old age pensioners, nutrition of young people in wartime, closures of restaurants, school meals, take-away lunches, outdoor catering and special functions catering, opening hours, serving alcohol, and the discontinuance of restaurants service.

Papers of individual civic restaurants including the Bun House Restaurant, 111 High Holborn, Bell Tower Restaurant, 76-79 St Paul's Churchyard, Netherhall Restaurant, 251-253 Finchley Road and Ramillies Restaurant, 197-205 Oxford Street. Statistics and analysis including weekly returns of meals provided for children under the School Scheme, weekly returns of adult meals, weekly summaries of meals served in each division or area and weekly analyses of returns.

Blitz Circulars relating to the Londoners' Meals Service; Ministry of Food Circulars; directories of restaurants and children's meals centres; handbook of instructions for superintendents; pamphlet on hygiene in relation to the service of meals; newspaper cuttings on civic restaurants and on the Department's activities; informative notices for display at Meals Centres; 'The Organisation and Work of the Restaurants and Catering Department', handbook for new entrants and training notes.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

General: LCC/RC/GEN/1; Individual civic restaurants: LCC/RC/GEN/2; Returns and summaries of cases: LCC/RC/GEN/3; Miscellaneous: LCC/RC/GEN/4.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further information on the history of the LCC please see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965, The London County Council 1938, LMA Library reference 18.7 SER 4, and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with 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:
April to June 2009

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