chapter  2
44 Pages

“Do Something!:” Manchester in Transition and War, 1917–18

This chapter examines the ways in which authorities at the municipal and national levels tried to channel these concerns into a discussion of the reshaping of postwar society. The war came to Manchester, as it did across Britain and Europe, as a sudden cataclysm, a rush of activity and a break from the routines of modern life. The labor market, not just in Manchester but all over Britain, had been co-opted by the national government through a series of agreements and acts, notably the 1915 Munitions of War Act. Efforts by national and local authorities to mediate in food issues demonstrated in sharp relief the paradox of bureaucratic intervention in the market. By the middle of the war, the regulation of food became one of great importance in Manchester. The issue of food created the greatest challenge to relations between local government and the population.