In 1665 a Surveyor General and local surveyors had been appointed to check the standard of provisions provided by contractors, but in 1684 dissatisfaction with supplies led to the appointment of four Commissioners who were to organise and control each stage of victualling operations. From the Victualling Board at Tower Hill contracts were made for the supply of provisions, most of which were prepared and packed in the yard there. Transports were hired by the Board, except between 1690 and 1724 and again between 1794 and 1817 when this responsibility was taken over by the Transport Board. Victuals were delivered to depots at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham and Dover, to yards abroad and to ships at sea. Soon after 1742 the Board purchased land at Deptford to found a victualling yard there. In 1787 the Victualling Office was moved to Somerset House. The Board was abolished in 1832 and its duties assigned to the Controller of Victualling.
The records were transferred to the Museum in 1938 by arrangement with the Admiralty. They consist of 427 volumes of in-letters, abstracts of letters and orders, and Board minutes, 1694 to 1819. Four hundred volumes are letters from the Admiralty, 1788 to 1815 (class mark, ADM/C); twenty-six volumes contain abstracts of Admiralty and Navy Board letters and orders, 1694 to 1819 (ADM/G); and one volume consists of Victualling Board minutes, 1811 to 1813 (ADM/H).
Public records: records of the central administration of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy