The'National Kitchen' in Britain, 1917-1919

Evans, Bryce (2016) The'National Kitchen' in Britain, 1917-1919. Journal of War & Culture Studies. pp. 1-15. ISSN 1752-6272

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In the latter stages of the First World War a vast network of state-sponsored communal restaurants helped fight against malnutrition on the Home Front. Yet the 'National Kitchen' remains a much under-documented phenomenon in British social and economic history. This paper, based on Wellcome Trust funded research, outlines the significance of this movement. It argues that the government's adoption and rebranding of the communal kitchen (largely 'bottom up' female-run initiatives in working class areas which emerged to combat wartime price inflation) sought to institutionalise and deradicalise a voluntarist model of affordable, egalitarian eating. As the model gained in popularity and scale, many saw the National Kitchen as becoming more than merely a temporary war measure. Providing the first comprehensive history of this important experiment in food policy, this paper seeks to highlight the tensions between voluntarism and state action in the context of a war economy as well as outlining the everyday operation of the National Kitchen - a forgotten fixture of British high streets.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of War and Culture Studies on 12th August, 2016 available online:
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History and Politics
Depositing User: Bryce Evans
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 10:59
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2018 15:02

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