Journal Article

The First World War and working-class food consumption in Britain

Ian Gazeley and Andrew Newell

in European Review of Economic History

Volume 17, issue 1, pages 71-94
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 1361-4916
Published online February 2013 | e-ISSN: 1474-0044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ereh/hes018
The First World War and working-class food consumption in Britain

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  • Industrial History
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We reassess the changes in British working-class diets through the First World War. The 1918 Sumner Committee's work on this was limited by a lack of consistency across household surveys. Our rediscovered 1904 data allow a cleaner comparison. Although calorie intake was maintained, we find a closing of the nutritional gap between skilled and unskilled workers. We also find reductions in intakes of several key vitamins. These were possibly side effects of the food control system. For many unregulated foodstuffs, such as fruit and vegetables, prices rose dramatically as production fell, and this may have been what caused the fall in vitamin C intake among skilled workers.

Journal Article.  11472 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Industrial History ; Labour History ; Economic History

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