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Remembered Today:

Sepoy

Gale and Polden Military Publishers and Printers

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Sepoy   
Sepoy

A small gathering took place in Aldershot, Hampshire, today, to commemorate one of the Country's best known Military Publishers and Printers, with the installation of a Blue Commemorative Plaque.

Gale and Polden were renowned for the publication of many of the British Army Training Manuals, Military Histories and Military Forms from 1893, throughout the Great War and Second World War, up to 1981. It was then taken over by the infamous Robert Maxwell and his Maxwell Communications, which collapsed, the following year with Maxwell's death. This left many former Gale and Polden workers without pensions.

The Printing Works were located on the site between The Grove, Birchett Road and Cavendish Road now occupied by Stratfield House, in Aldershot.

The Plaque was the brainchild of a local Aldershot resident Colonel David Strong TD.

The installation was also attended by Mrs Strong, Rushmoor Borough Council Representative Deputy Mayor Diane Bedford, Town Centre Manager David Phillips and the plaque designer.

Sepoy

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Steven Broomfield   
Steven Broomfield

Thanks - very nice. Like most Forum members, I seem to have a lot of their products dotted round the house!

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barkalotloudly   
barkalotloudly

I read somewhere all the original manuscripts and photographs were burnt, ranks along side Butler and Tanner as one of the premier publishers of high quality military books

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barrieduncan   
barrieduncan

Without trying to appear insensitive, would anyone know who now holds the copyright to Gale and Polden? They produced a huge amount of material over the years and, while it would be great if this was available freely in the public domain, chances are some off-shot company owns the rights to their images now. I've tried looking into this in the past with no result but would welcome any input - even along the lines of 'no-one owns the copyright...reproduce at will with no fear of reprisal...'

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seaJane   
seaJane

Copyright will be with individual authors not with publishers.

I don't think ive ever seen a blue plaque to a firm before. Nice.

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delta   
delta

One of Gale and Polden's employees was in the first tank to see action. He was a gunner in Daredevil which undertook a preliminary attack to the south of Delville Wood on 15 September. Harry was killed in action during the attack on Bullecourt on 11 April 1917.

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303man   
303man

I think they were bought out by Robert Maxwell and closed in 1981 so wether he has the copyright I do not know.

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seaJane   
seaJane

I've been thinking about this, and although copyright remains with the individual authors, as before-mentioned, in the terms of their contract/s it would be interesting to know whether the right to publish rested solely with Gale and Polden or whether the contract/s added "or the firm's successors".

Pergamon Press (the firm Maxwell owned when he took over Gale & Polden) still survives as an imprint of Elsevier, and if publication rights were transferred then that is where they would be. I think it more likely, however, that the publication rights reverted to the authors on the closure of Gale and Polden, although I don't know how one would find out unless there was a case at law over the ownership, and somebody had time to check the Law Reports Index.

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David Filsell   
David Filsell

I'm sure you are correct that they were bought out (broke) by Fat Max. I have been told that once the take over was completed the company's entire phot library was simply chucked.

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Dragon   
Dragon
On ‎07‎/‎06‎/‎2014 at 11:29, seaJane said:

 

I don't think ive ever seen a blue plaque to a firm before. Nice.

 

If you are ever unfortunate enough to have to go in the Trafford Centre, there's a blue plaque by the entrance to the mall commemorating Ford Motor Company, which stood on the site. It produced RR Merlin engines for Spitfires and Lancasters; the plaque marks the company and by implication the efforts of its workers.  

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barkalotloudly   
barkalotloudly
3 hours ago, David Filsell said:

I'm sure you are correct that they were bought out (broke) by Fat Max. I have been told that once the take over was completed the company's entire phot library was simply chucked.

Yes, the obese one has a lot to answer for!!!

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David Filsell   
David Filsell

After the collapse of Pergamon he was judged to be unfit to be a company officer. How right they were. He was as crooked as they come.

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John Gilinsky   
John Gilinsky

How universally sad that accumulations of papers, books, documents are simply collectively categorized as ``rubbish`` and dealt with accordingly.  Imagine the wonderfully fascinating corporate and business archives around the world that have great stuff(and still do in many cases) but are now lost forever due to mergers, takeovers, moves, war losses, and the ``tossing`` referred to.  My very first military history book (which I still have!) was bought by me for 14 shillings direct form Gale and Polden when I was 14 years old.  It is Massee`s history of the Predecessors of the Royal Army Service Corps (published in 1948).  I even remember corresponding with Mr. Martin who politely responded that the firm didn`t keep extra copies of stuff hanging around (as I like so many others were fascinated by the numerous postcards, greeting cards, regimental short histories, etc... produced over the generations).  Glad to see that such a fine military history publisher is publicly recognized locally.  

``

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Moonraker   
Moonraker
37 minutes ago, John Gilinsky said:

How universally sad that accumulations of papers, books, documents are simply collectively categorized as ``rubbish`` and dealt with accordingly...
 

Too true. Postcards costing a few pence a century ago can now sell for £50+. A bill or letter relating to a camp or airfield can be worth £10, £20 ...

 

Moonraker

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seaJane   
seaJane

Talking about postcards, and Gale and Polden: today's discovery in the archive:

 

Gale and Polden.jpg

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Liz in Eastbourne   
Liz in Eastbourne

That's nice, Jane.

You do get up early to rummage in the archives!

Liz

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seaJane   
seaJane

:) the rummaging was a long while before. The posting was insomniac!

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daggers   
daggers

I have always had a soft spot for that company since reading AA's 'Warriors Paraded', where they were affectionately disguised as 'Pale and Golden'.  Later they were helpful when I was looking for a transfer [or decal as I think they may now be known] of a regimental badge.

 

D

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voltaire60   
voltaire60

 

     New to this thread but drawn to it a small discussion about a Gale and Polden published regimental of the 5th Lancers on another thread. Also, by chance, picking up a rather obscure Gale and Polden item at a bookfair last weekend (Standing Orders 15th/19th Hussars).  It struck me that what happened to Gale and Polden's records should be established for sure.

      As the histories show, Gale and Polden started in 1868 and as well as books, postcards,etc, they were the local newspaper printers in Aldershot.  They eventually ended up as "Maxwell Communications"- part of the business/fraud empire of the late Captain I.R.Maxwell, MC- the "Bouncing Czech"(and surely the most disreputable ever recipient of the Military Cross)..The Maxwell empire went under in 1981 and the company's Wellington Works (How could it have been any other name,as military publishers?) were demolished in 1987.  There are references on this thread to the firm's archive of photographs being ditched with the Maxwell takeover. Alas, Cap;n Bob had previously ruined 2 other fine old publishing houses- the publisher of many economic and social books ,P.S.King and Sons were burnt out by a Luftwaffe raid on Westminster in 1941. It suffered an even worse fate than that as the name was bought out by IRM just after the war. -and ruined it. Similarly, he took over Chapman and Hall- the publishers of many of Dickens's works-and wrecked that company-being adjudged an unfit director for that company long, long before Pergamon and the DTI inspectors came along.

   

    Now, there are 999 chances in a thousand that everything in the way of Gale and Polden records, file copies,ledgers, photos, etc.  went to perdition long since. But,hey fol;ks, let's give it a go to find out for sure. (If you do not have firm knowledge that a piece of evidence has been destroyed, then presume it continues to exist-that's what I was taught for History at uni.)

 

       Now, what would Gale and Polden have had?   Probably the following:

 

1) File copies of publications- Most old-time publishers kept file copies of their publications- usually marked as such to stop them from being "half-inched".  Does anyone have any Gale and Polden publication that is marked as a "File Copy"-which might give hope that something was salved and dispersed?. The lack of any reference to such an archive-either by military enthusiasts or  in any Archive guide is  making it highly likely that there was not such an archive-  the dispersal of a horde of G and P stuff would have many a member of this Forum weeping with nostalgia.

 

2) Ledgers- Printers are pretty good at keeping ledgers-which usually carry who ordered the item and when, the cost and -importantly-the print run. Again, not a sniff of these either.

 

3) Style Books- For items such as regimental standing orders, G and P are likely to have kept pattern books-or "dummies" to keep up their house style and to facilitate re-ordering from existing customers.

 

        There is one small ray of hope- Maxwell also took over the long-established book printers, Hazell, Watson and Viney-and some of their archive has survived.

   Thus, can Forum members scratch their heads and try to remember any references to

 

       i)what Gale and Polden actually had

      ii) Anything known to have been destroyed and when.

     iii) Anything that might have strayed-esp. file copies of books (the likeliest)

 

       Quite often in these sad tales of wanton destruction,  a few things are kept. Is there anything out there?

 

PS-  I have not accessed a copy of Strong's history of Gale and Polden as yet- and PPS-I note the following old auction catalogue on Tinternet (from ABE) , which may give some glimmer of hope.  My apologies if all the answers are in Colonel Strong's book.

 

Christie's Military Books, Prints and Watercolour Drawings, The Property of Gale and Polden Ltd. And Others : November 27, 1968

 

Published by Christie, Manson & Woods, London (1968)

 

       

Edited by voltaire60

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John Gilinsky   
John Gilinsky

Tx Voltaire60.  Please forgive me but can you please just post the full name, birth and death dates of this Captain I. R. Maxwell, M.C.?  You refer to him with one (possibly if not probably based on the circumstances of his adult life as the 'Bouncing Czech' [ did you not mean bouncing check? ]?  Tx from a colonial.

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Toby Brayley   
Toby Brayley

So nice to see and thank you for sharing! 

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voltaire60   
voltaire60
19 minutes ago, John Gilinsky said:

Tx Voltaire60.  Please forgive me but can you please just post the full name, birth and death dates of this Captain I. R. Maxwell, M.C.?  You refer to him with one (possibly if not probably based on the circumstances of his adult life as the 'Bouncing Czech' [ did you not mean bouncing check? ]?  Tx from a colonial.

 

    Alas, No-it is "The Bouncing Czech".  A long-time fraudster, corporate raider and all-round crook-an egomaniac. Try "Robert Maxwell" on Google-add Daily Mirror or Pergamon and you should get the full picture. Czech Jewish emigre, served British Army in WW2-originally Jan Hoch but anglicized as Maxwell- Won an MC  (some disputes and to what for and the circumstances). Long term pillager of corporate assets. Fell off/Pushed off his yacht when the police were closing in on him.

(Makes Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" look as if  he is doing an imprsonation of St Francis of Assisi)

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John Gilinsky   
John Gilinsky

Tx Voltaire60.  One reason besides that of corporate indifferences to their own histories (universally the common expectation rather than the exception sadly) is the fallout from the post-Vietnam War (late 1970s and early 1980s) period where such a military imperial colonial era focused publisher's materials would be distinctly selected for being "terminated with extreme prejudice."  My first book bought when I was 14 years old was the 1948 history of the Predecessors of the Royal Army Service Corps by Lt-Colonel C H Masse published by G & P.

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seaJane   
seaJane

I was interviewed for radio in Oxford in 1995, when a certain amount of, hm, local litigation was under way. Sellotaped to the glass pane on the interviewer's side of the glass was a notice in large print which I was able to read from my side: NOBODY TO MENTION THE MAXWELLS.

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Sepoy   
Sepoy
12 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

PS-  I have not accessed a copy of Strong's history of Gale and Polden as yet- and PPS-I note the following old auction catalogue on Tinternet (from ABE) , which may give some glimmer of hope.  My apologies if all the answers are in Colonel Strong's book.    

I can highly recommend David Strong's Gale and Polden book. It is a well produced hard back book at a very reasonable price.
See here for further details, how to purchase etc.
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/hampshire-news/story-aldershot-firm-gale--13382591

 

Sepoy

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