Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932

Political parties and organisations of the Red Clydeside period

Ministry of Munitions

The Ministry of Munitions was established in March 1915 to address the growing problem of munitions shortages effecting front line British troops in Europe. The feeling was that greater government control over production could bring a measure of planning to armaments production and help ensure that the huge demand for shells and other weapons was met effectively and speedily. By the end of the war Lloyd George and his successors at the MOM had not only transformed Britainís munitions industries but had changed the face of British industry and created the largest government department the country had ever seen. Between 1915 and 1918 the Ministry of Munitions had reached into every industry and effected the lives of millions of ordinary Britons. By 1918 218 National Factories were in operation in comparison with only 4 munitions factories before the war and the government was buying 98% of all steel produced. The Ministry was also responsible for organising the development of new weapons such as tanks and it had helped co-ordinate and encourage the employment of women into the munitions industries.

image thumbnail Seven-page pamphlet entitled 'Rules for constituting and regulating Munitions Tribunals'
Copy of trade agreement between Ministry of Munitions and Beardmores for the construction of shells, dated 29 March 1916 image thumbnail
image thumbnail Cover of Munitions of War Act 1915.
Typed report on the activities of Clyde Workers Committee during the period of unrest in March 1916. The report is unsigned and undated although it thought to have been written by a member staff of the Ministry of Munitions in Scotland in April 1916. image thumbnail
image thumbnail Government memorandum entitled 'Ministry of Munitions of War Circular L2.' which sets out the levels of pay and working conditions for female dilutees in munitions works
Publication entitled 'Summary of dilution programme as based with modifications on Mr. Weirs memorandum'. This summary lays out the Government plans for the introduction of the dilution of labour in munitions works throughout Britain. image thumbnail