The Earl of Woolton
|Lord President of the Council|
28 May – 27 July 1945
|Prime Minister||Winston Churchill|
|Preceded by||Clement Attlee|
|Succeeded by||Herbert Morrison|
28 October 1951 – 24 November 1952
|Prime Minister||Winston Churchill|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Addison|
|Succeeded by||The Marquess of Salisbury|
|Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster|
24 November 1952 – 20 December 1955
|Prime Minister||Winston Churchill|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Swinton|
|Succeeded by||The Earl of Selkirk|
Frederick James Marquis
23 August 1883
Ordsall, Salford, Lancashire, England
|Died||14 December 1964 (aged 81)|
Arundel, Sussex, England
|Alma mater||Victoria University of Manchester|
Frederick James Marquis, 1st Earl of Woolton,(23 August 1883 – 14 December 1964) was an English businessman and politician.
In April 1940, he was appointed Minister of Food and established the rationing system. During this time, he maintained food imports from America and organised a programme of free school meals. Due to a shortage of meat, fish, and dairy products, his recommended dish was the vegetarian Woolton pie.
In 1943, Woolton was appointed Minister of Reconstruction, planning for post-war Britain, and became Conservative Party chairman from 1946 to 1955.
Lord Woolton was born at 163 West Park Street in Ordsall, Salford, Lancashire, in 1883. He was the only surviving child of a saddler, Thomas Robert Marquis (1857–1944), and his wife, Margaret Marquis, née Ormerod (1854–1923). Educated in Ardwick and then at Manchester Grammar School and the University of Manchester, Woolton was an active member of the Unitarian Church. He was active in social work in Liverpool (1906–1918).
Woolton had hoped to pursue an academic career in the social sciences, but his wish was frustrated by his family's financial circumstances, and he became a mathematics teacher at Burnley Grammar School. He was forced to turn down a research fellowship in Sociology at the University of London but was appointed a research fellow in Economics at the University of Manchester in 1910, where he took the degree of MA in 1912.
Having been judged unfit for military service, Woolton became a civil servant, first in the War Office, then at the Leather Control Board, where he served as a civilian boot controller. At the end of the war, he became secretary of the Boot Manufacturers' Federation, joining Lewis's department store in Liverpool, where he was an executive (1928–1951), becoming director in 1928 and chairman in 1936. In 1938, he responded to the Anschluss by announcing that his stores would boycott Nazi German goods. Despite public support, he was reprimanded by Horace Wilson on behalf of Neville Chamberlain's National Government for diverging from its European policy of appeasement.
Woolton was knighted in 1935 and was raised to the peerage in 1939 for his contribution to British industry. Despite his wishes, he was informed that it was not possible to be Baron Marquis (because "Marquess", or "Marquis", is another grade of the peerage of the United Kingdom), so he took the title Baron Woolton after the Liverpool suburb of that name in which he had lived. He subsequently served on several government committees (including the Cadman committee). He refused to affiliate himself with any political party.
In April 1940, Woolton was appointed as Minister of Food by Neville Chamberlain, one of several ministerial appointments from outside politics. Woolton retained this position until 1943. He supervised 50,000 employees and over a thousand local offices where people could obtain ration cards. His ministry had a virtual monopoly of all food sold in Britain, whether imported or local. His mission was to guarantee adequate nutrition for everyone. With food supplies cut sharply because of enemy action and the needs of the services, rationing was essential. Woolton and his advisors had one scheme in mind, but economists convinced them to instead try point rationing. Everyone would have a certain number of points a month that they could allocate any way they wanted. The experimental approach to food rationing has been considered successful; indeed, food rationing was a major success story in Britain's war.
In late June 1940, with a German invasion threatened, Woolton reassured the public that emergency food stocks were in place that would last "for weeks and weeks" even if the shipping could not get through. He said "iron rations" were stored for use only in great emergency. Other rations were stored in the outskirts of cities liable to German bombing. When the Blitz began in late summer 1940, he was ready with more than 200 feeding stations in London and other cities under attack.
Woolton had the task of overseeing rationing due to wartime shortages. He took the view that it was insufficient to merely impose restrictions but that a programme of advertising to support it was also required. He warned that meat and cheese, as well as bacon and eggs, were in very short supply and would remain that way. Calling for a simpler diet, he noted that there was plenty of bread, potatoes, vegetable oils, fats, and milk.
By January 1941, the usual overseas food supply had fallen in half. By 1942, however, ample food supplies were arriving through Lend Lease from the U.S. and a similar Canadian programme. Worried about children, he made sure that by 1942 Britain was providing 650,000 children with free school meal; about 3,500,000 children received milk at school, in addition to priority supplies at home. However, his national loaf of wholemeal brown bread replaced the ordinary white variety, to the distaste of most housewives.  Children learned that sweets supplies were reduced to save shipping space.
Woolton kept food prices down by subsidizing eggs and other items. He promoted recipes that worked well with the rationing system, including the "Woolton pie," which consisted of carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and turnips in oatmeal, with a pastry or potato crust, and served with brown gravy. Woolton's business skills made the Ministry of Food's job a success, and he earned a strong personal popularity despite the shortages. 
He joined the Privy Council in 1940 and became a Companion of Honour in 1942. In 1943, Woolton entered the War Cabinet as Minister of Reconstruction, taking charge of the difficult task of planning for post-war Britain and in this role, he appeared on the cover of Time on the issue of 26 March 1945. In May 1945, he featured in Churchill's "Caretaker" government as Lord President of the Council.
In November 1945, Woolton gave his inaugural address as President of the Royal Statistical Society.
In July 1945, Churchill lost the 1945 general election, and his government fell. The next day, Woolton joined the Conservative Party and was soon appointed Party chairman, with the job of improving the party's organisation in the country and revitalising it for future elections. Under Woolton, many sweeping reforms were carried out, and when the Conservatives returned to government in 1951, Woolton served in the Cabinet for the next four years.
Woolton rebuilt the local organisations with an emphasis on membership, money, and a unified national propaganda appeal on critical issues. To broaden the base of potential candidates, the national party provided financial aid to candidates and assisted the local organisations in raising local money. Woolton also proposed changing the name of the party to the Union Party and later emphasised a rhetoric that characterised opponents as "Socialist" rather than "Labour". He was given credit for the Conservative victory in 1951, their first since 1935.
In May 1950, Woolton, with Churchill's approval, called for a kind of coalition with the Liberal Party based on nine principles he said they agreed upon:
The Liberal leadership rejected the coalition as one that the Conservatives would control. Labour had recently narrowly won the 1950 general election. The Conservatives without Liberal help won the 1951 general election.
In the 1953 Coronation Honours, he became Viscount Woolton.
In 1956, he was further honoured when he became Earl of Woolton with the subsidiary title Viscount Walberton.
Woolton died 14 December 1964 at his home, Walberton House, in Arundel, Sussex. His titles passed to his son, Roger. He is buried at St Mary's Church, Walberton, Sussex.
Michael Kandiah & Judith Rowbotham (Editors), The Diaries and Letters of Lord Woolton 1940–1945. Records of Social and Economic History Series, vol. 61. Oxford: University Press for the British Academy, 2020. Hardcover. xxvii+324 p. ISBN 978-0197266847.