This blog looks at a ‘find’ we’ve made – a copy of the 19th century Chesterfield printer’s ‘Gallimore’s Almanack’ in Chesterfield Local Studies Library.
You may remember in our blog of 28 May 2021 we posted about Gallimore’s almanack – which might have been a much earlier version of the once popular TP Woods Almanac with its popular chronicle of local events.
Thanks to some work by one of our members and staff at Chesterfield Local Studies Library, we have now found a copy of the errant publication, which we said we’d love to see.
We must admit to being a bit disappointed.
Speaking at a meeting of the Rotary Club in late 1924, local historian William Jacques mentions ‘Gallimore’s Almanac’ which he said dated back to 1842 – which makes the copy we’ve identified the first edition. Jacques had recently been presented with a set of 22, which he believed were the only ones in existence.
Jacques description of Gallimore’s almanack content was that half of it consisted of advertisements ‘nine-tenths of which related to quack medicines’ (Gallimore was a dealer in these). Jacques makes reference about some local content being present – but in the edition we have found, this is very limited.
In fact our copy basically comprises, for the most part, ‘Moore’s Almanack’ (now Old Moore’s) for 1842 which is of 48 pages in length. Local content is limited to ‘C Gallimore’s (late Ford) companion to the Almanacks for 1842’. This comprises a short list of the Chesterfield Corporation followed by names of such local offices as the clerk of the peace, gas and water company, boards of highways, etc. There then follow details of local carriers, feasts and wakes, followed by county lists of fairs, all ending at page 8. There’s certainly no local chronicle – a feature of TP Wood’s almanacs. (Indeed, the the title is actually ‘…Almanacks’ indicating there’s more than one within the covers!)
There’s then a so-called ‘Second Sheet’. Rather as described by Jacques, this comprises testimonials from users of ‘Parr’s Life Pills’, of some four pages. A further four pages are given over to more Parr testimonials, until a description of Simpson’s ‘antibilious pills’ takes two pages, whilst the same manufacturer’s ‘herbal pills…for coughs aschmas & consumptions’ takes the remaining two pages. All these, what we now call quack medicines, are naturally stocked by Gallimore. The whole has a presumably Gallimore printed cover, which is illustrated above.
So, all in all, rather a disappointment, particularly when set against Jacques’ talk to the Rotary Club in 1924.
Incidentally, the almanack is not part of the local studies library’s Jacques’ collection. It appears to have been presented or acquired by the library within the last 20 years or so. There’s still, then, the mystery as to what happened to the 22 copies Jacques had.
As we’ve written above, the first edition is 1842 – making the almanack featured here the first one of its type.
This would also nicely fit into the start of TP Wood’s almanac, which, in his almanac for 1904 (published in 1903) he stated was first published in 1864. If 1842 was the first edition and there were 22, TP Wood would have started publication only a few years after the Gallimore almanack had ceased.
In 1903 Wood went on to state that he his first almanac had been a ‘ready-compiled’ purchased from ‘a Mr Egglinton’, with a few added pages about Wood’s own business. The following year, Gallimore’s having ‘retired’, Wood added ‘about a dozen pages’ of local information’ to his almanac. The publication then rapidly grew, so much so that in 1903 Wood was expressing his concerns about the commercial viability of his almanac, suggesting that it might be slimmed down in future years.
More about Gallimore
Following our original post in May 2021 we were very pleased to receive the following comments from Isabel Fogg via our Facebook page.
She stated that in an article Quaker Printers, 1750-1850, C. Gallimore is listed as a printer c. 1845-1850 in Chesterfield. In contemporary newspapers they have the Gallimore brothers in dress and deportment apparently resembling Charles Lamb, the essayist. There are also references to ‘Moore’s Almanack with Gallimore’s Appendix’ and ‘Gallimore’s Companion to the Almanacks’.
As we have previously noted – VCH needs to carryout further work on Chesterfield’s 19th century printers. This should include following up the above comments.
In a past blog we have looked at Thomas Ford – printer and publisher of the 1839 history of town – who proceeded the Gallimores at their Iron Gate premises.
Found but limited
So, almanack found – but its content is limited. Maybe it increased as the years went on – but we don’t know – as we still need to find the other editions that were published.
Although it is only one example of the 22 editions Jacques says he had, we can rather confidentially say that if this edition of Gallimore’s Almanack is of limited use to VCH in our research. Unless, of course, we decide to look at the quack medicines of the 19th century – readily available in Chesterfield and elsewhere – particularly to Parr’s Life Pills’ or Simpson’s ‘antibilious pills’!
Our thanks to the staff at Chesterfield Local Studies Library (where the edition of Gallimore’s Almanack featured here can be found) and to Derbyshire County Council for allowing us to reproduce the illustrations in this blog
Sources for this blog
- Gallimores’s almanack for 1842 (presumed published in 1841)
- TP Wood Alamanc for 1904 (1903)
- Have you heard of Gallimore’s almanac? – Derbyshire Victoria County History (derbyshirevch.org)