Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Gale and Polden

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November 1932.

of 2 Amen Corner, London, EC4. Also at Aldershot and Portsmouth. T.A.: Picquet Cent. London. Telephone: Central 397

  • 1866 James Gale opened his first shop at 1 High Street, Old Brompton in Chatham.
  • 1873 Gale printed his first book, using hand-operated presses.
  • 1875 William T Nash became Gale's first apprentice, aged just 14.
  • 1877 Gale employs a second apprentice called Ernest Polden, who later became his partner.
  • 1885 Printing operations moved out of Gales' house to a new factory, the Brompton Works, in Chatham.
  • 1888 Gale and Polden opened their first shop in Aldershot, at Wellington Street.
  • 1892 Gale and Polden incorporated as a limited company.
  • 1893 Gale and Polden sold the Brompton Works in Chatham and moved to the new Wellington Works in Aldershot.
  • 1894 The firm published the first edition of the Aldershot News and sold more than 12,000 copies.
  • 1904 Small bookstalls within the Royal Naval Barracks were opened at Chatham and a Portsmouth branch, known as the Nelson Works was established to capture the naval trade.
  • 1916 The firm won Royal favour and a warrant for producing Queen's Mary's Christmas card.
  • 1918 A fire at the firm's Wellington Works destroyed one of the four wings, temporarily halting production. After the fire, the firm was understandably cautious about further accidents maintaining a volunteer fire crew at the Works.
  • 1922 British Industries Fair Advert as "Printers and Publishers of Charming Books for Children". Producers of Picture Story Books, Toy Books, Story Books. (Stand No. K.157) [1]
  • 1926 Emergency editions of the local newspapers were produced despite a crippling national strike.
  • 1937 The Royal Air Force Quarterly. The Aeronautical Diary. [2]
  • 1938 Gale and Polden produced more than 180,000 copies of their souvenir programme, marking the peak of the firm's close involvement with the Aldershot Military Tattoo.
  • 1946 The firm acquired a new rotary press, cutting production time.
  • 1947 With Britain in the midst of the fuel crisis, the firm struggled to keep production going and many staff were forced to go to work in their coats with heating and lighting rationed in the factory.
  • 1959 A national strike by the printing unions meant that Gale and Polden employees walked out for only the second time in the firm's history with apprentices and backroom staff left to keep the newspapers in print.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Hampshire County Council