Whitaker's Almanack

Whitaker's is a reference book, published annually in the United Kingdom.[1][2] The book was originally published by J Whitaker & Sons from 1868 to 1997, then by The Stationery Office until 2003, and then by A & C Black which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomsbury Publishing in 2011. The publication was acquired by Rebellion Publishing in 2020.[3] The 153rd edition was published on 15 April 2021.[4][5]

Whitaker's Almanack
Whitaker's 2018.jpg
CountryUnited Kingdom

First publicationEdit

Joseph Whitaker began preparing his Almanack in the autumn of 1868.[6] He postponed publication of the first edition on learning of the resignation of Benjamin Disraeli on 1 December 1868, so that he could include details of the new Gladstone administration. At the same time, Whitaker continued to expand the information so that the initially planned 329 pages grew to 370. The first edition of the Almanack appeared on 23 December 1868,[7] priced at 1 shilling, introduced by a short editorial piece written by Joseph Whitaker. It began "The Editor does not put forward this Almanack as perfect: yet he ventures to think that he has succeeded in preparing a work which will commend itself to those who desire to see improvement in this direction." It concluded by inviting critics to suggest ways in which improvements could be made.[8]

The Manchester Guardian, reviewing the first edition, described it as "the largest of the cheap almanacks" to appear, and noted it contained a great deal more valuable information than other such works.[9] In 2013, the 2014 edition became the first to be published under the new simpler branding of "Whitaker's".[10]


Whitaker's Almanack consists of articles, lists and tables on a wide range of subjects including education, the peerage, government departments, health and social issues, and the environment.[11]

The largest section is the countries directory, which includes recent history, politics, economic information and culture overviews.[11] Each edition also features a selection of critical essays focusing on events of the previous year. Extensive astronomical data covering the forthcoming year is published at the rear of the book.[11]

Whitaker's was prized enough that Winston Churchill took a personal interest in the continued publication of the book after its headquarters were destroyed in the Blitz. A copy is also sealed in Cleopatra's Needle on the north bank of the River Thames.[12]


Each year the Almanack is published in two formats – the Standard Edition and a shortened Concise Edition. In previous years, a larger-format of the Standard Edition, bound in leather, was produced for libraries. In 2016, Whitaker's launched its online edition through its website, which was updated weekly with free-to-view and subscription only content.[12]


The Almanack's current editor is Michael Rowley.[13]

Editors since 1868Edit

There have been eleven editors since 1868:[14][15]

  • Joseph Whitaker 1868–1895
  • Sir Cuthbert Whitaker 1895–1950
  • F. H. C. Tatham 1950–1981
  • Richard Blake 1981–1986
  • Hilary Marsden 1986–1999
  • Lauren Simpson 1999–2004
  • Vanessa White 2001–2002
  • Inna Ward 2004–2008
  • Claire Fogg 2008–2010
  • Ruth Northey 2010–2020
  • Michael Rowley 2020–

Alternative publicationsEdit

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ "Reviewed Work(s): Whitaker's Almanack 1985: The Year Book by". The American Political Science Review. American Political Science Association. 79 (4): 1281. December 1985. doi:10.2307/1956423. JSTOR 1956423. The 117th in its series, this volume provides considerable information on British government and society. The complete edition also includes several additional pages that cover such topics as the British Commonwealth of Nations, dependent territories, basic information on foreign countries, the United Nations, sports and the arts, the media, British architecture, science,education, trade unions, and more. Volume contains index.
  2. ^ "Reviewed Work(s): Whitaker's Almanack, 1915 by ; Who's Who, 1915 by". The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. Burlington Magazine Publications Ltd. 26 (143): 216–217. February 1915. JSTOR 859969. We acknowledge with thanks the receipt of "Who's Who " and "Whitaker's Almanack ". Both these publications maintain their usual very high standard, though the war has naturally affected them considerably. In "Whitaker's Almanack" the space devoted last year to "The World's Peace" and " Proceedings of the Hague Tribunal " has this year been given up to an account of the origins of "The Great War", which we commend to our readers' attention. We note with approval the omission of the Emperor William's and the Crown Prince's name, with those of other belligerents, from the list of Knights of the Garter
  3. ^ "Rebellion acquires Whitaker's Almanack | Rebellion Publishing | 28 February 2020". www.rebellionpublishing.com. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  4. ^ "Whitaker's 2021 by Whitaker's Almanack | Waterstones". www.waterstones.com.
  5. ^ "Whitaker's 2021 (Whitaker's Almanack) Rebellion Publishing".
  6. ^   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Whitaker, Joseph". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  7. ^ "Whitaker's Almanack" (advertisement), The Times, 21 December 1868, p. 14.
  8. ^ "Advertisement", "An Almanack For the Year of Our Lord 1869. By Joseph Whitaker.", J. Whitaker, 1868, p. 6.
  9. ^ "Almanacks", Manchester Guardian, 27 December 1868, p. 3.
  10. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 2014. Bloomsbury Yearbooks. 2013. ISBN 978-1408193334.
  11. ^ a b c Whitaker's Almanack 2021. Rebellion Publishing. 2021. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-1781089781.
  12. ^ a b "Bloomsbury to sell Whitaker's Almanack". The Bookseller. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Rebellion acquires Whitaker's Almanack | Rebellion Publishing". www.rebellionpublishing.com. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  14. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1900 (Facsimile ed.). London: The Stationery Office. 1999. ISBN 978-0-11-702247-8.
  15. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 2016. London: A & C Black. 14 January 2016. ISBN 978-1-4729-0930-5.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Literary References". Whitaker's. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 14 May 2021.

External linkEdit