Have you heard of Gallimore’s almanac?

Our 15 March 2021 post on Chesterfield wine and spirit merchant TP Wood’s series of almanacs, was quite popular. But did you know that there may be a much earlier local version, which we would love to see?

Advertisement from the Derbyshire Courier of 5 June 1841 announcing that C Gallimore had taken over the business of T Ford. We are not quite sure how effective ‘Old Parr’s infallible life pills’ were! It’s thought that the Gallimore’s were Quakers.

Speaking at a meeting of the Rotary Club in late 1924, local historian William Jacques mentions ‘Gallimore’s Almanac’ which he says dated back to 1842. Jacques had recently been presented with a set of 22, which he believed were the only ones in existence. The Gallimores, who according to Jacques, were brothers, took over the printing business of Ford in Irongate (the Shambles). We do know that a C Gallimore was advertising that he had taken over Ford’s business in May 1841 – our illustration is taken from the Derbyshire Courier of 5 June 1841.  Ford is best remembered as the publisher of the 1839 ‘History of Chesterfield…’

Thanks to the Derbyshire Times of 27 December 1924, we know a little more about Jacques’ talk and what he found in the almanac. Jacques apparently mentioned the old Town Hall in the Market Place, the Grammar School and other early schools and religious meeting houses. Jacques stated that half of Gallimore’s almanac content consisted of advertisements ‘nine-tenths of which related to quack medicines’. (Gallimore was dealer in these).

Jacques was secretary of the Chesterfield Education Committee for many years, a JP and formerly editor/manager of the Derbyshire Courier, he died on New Year’s Day 1931, aged 71. He also wrote ‘Modern Chesterfield…’ jointly with John Pendleton, which was published in 1903.

The almanacs remain a bit of a mystery. One might have thought that they would have found their way into the Jacques’ collection in Chesterfield Local Studies Library – but they haven’t. Nor does there appear to be much in the way of newspaper advertisements for the publication. What we do know is that, according to an advertisement in the Derbyshire Courier of Saturday 01 December 1849, ‘Allen’s Great Midland Almanac’ was available from Gallimore’s (and other stockists). Is this the ‘Gallimore’s almanac’ that Jacques refers to; with locally produced pages interleaved with a regional publication?

VCH will try and sort out the progression of the local printing industry in Chesterfield, so we’d love to see a copy or receive any further information on these mysterious almanacs.

Update 12 July 2023 – we found a copy in Chesterfield Local Studies Library! See our update here.

This blog was amended on 28 March 2023 to reflect the correct date of the first edition of Gallimore’s Almanac as 1842 not 1824 and that the Gallimores were Quakers.