William Chambers (publisher)
William Chambers of Glenormiston
|Lord Provost of Edinburgh|
|Preceded by||Charles Lawson of Borthwick Hall|
|Succeeded by||William Law|
|Born||16 April 1800|
|Died||20 May 1883(aged 83)|
William Chambers of Glenormiston or William Chambers FRSE (//; 16 April 1800 – 20 May 1883) was a Scottish publisher and politician, the brother (and business partner) of Robert Chambers. The brothers were influential in the mid-19th century, in both scientific and political circles.
Chambers was born in Peebles and moved to Edinburgh in 1814 to work in the book-selling trade and soon branched out into printing. He opened his own bookshop in 1819 on Broughton Street, a historical street absorbed by Edinburgh's New Town. He founded the publishing firm of W. & R. Chambers Publishers with his brother, Robert in 1832. He was a keen advocate of popular education and his firm pioneered the use of industrial technologies of publishing to make print available cheaply. With his younger brother, Robert Chambers, he produced books and periodicals of Scottish interest, such as Gazetteer of Scotland. They also made money in promulgating the many new science discoveries as the modern world emerged from prior modes of thinking in such periodicals as the Edinburgh Journal. Their publishing business prospered, and in 1859 Chambers founded a museum and art gallery in Peebles. The brothers collaborated on the publication of Chambers Encyclopaedia between 1860 and 1868.
As Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1865 to 1869, Chambers was responsible for the restoration of St Giles Cathedral and other major town planning exercises, including the creation of Jeffrey Street, St Marys Street and Blackfriars Street. These streets were all created under the City Improvement Act of 1866, including one named in his memory: (Chambers Street) and here in its centre stands a statue to him, by local sculptor John Rhind with low-relief copper panels on the base by William Shirreffs.
A memorial stained glass window was erected in the centre of the north aisle of St Giles Cathedral in his memory. A smaller window to his brother Robert stands to its side.
W. & R. Chambers
In the beginning of 1832 William Chambers started a weekly publication under the title of Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, (known since 1854 as Chambers's Journal of Literature, Science and Arts), which speedily attained a large circulation (84,000), and to which his younger brother Robert Chambers was at first only a contributor. After fourteen issues had appeared, Robert became associated with his brother as joint editor, and his collaboration may have contributed more than anything else to the success of the Journal. From September 1832 the two brothers formed the book publishing firm of W. & R. Chambers Publishers. The firm would eventually become part of Chambers Harrap Publishers in the late 20th century.
Among the other numerous works of which Robert was in whole or in part the author, the Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen (4 vols., Glasgow, 1832–1835), the Cyclopædia of English Literature (1844), the Life and Works of Robert Burns (4 vols., 1851), Ancient Sea Margins (1848), the Domestic Annals of Scotland (1859–1861) and the Book of Days (2 vols., 1862–1864) were the most important.
- Chambers's Papers for the People Vol. 1 (1850).
- A history of Peeblesshire. (1864). archive.org
- Memoir of William and Robert Chambers. (1883). archive.org
- Chambers's etymological dictionary of the English language. (1871) archive.org
- Chambers Harrap Publishers
- Chambers Institution, Peebles, Scottish Borders, an arts centre, museum and library which bears W. Chambers' name.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 821. .
- "Edinburgh Post Office annual directory, 1832-1833". National Library of Scotland. p. 35. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Fyfe, Aileen (2012) Steam-Powered Knowledge: William Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860 Chicago: University of Chicago Press
- "List of the Ordinary Fellows of the Society". Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 1870. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- Mcwilliam, Colin. Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh.
- Gardner, Tim. "William Shirreffs (1846-1902), sculptor, a biography". www.glasgowsculpture.com. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- "sale offering of, bound collection". Retrieved 9 March 2009.
as of the accessdate, this site was selling a bound collected as a hardcopy of 1856's "Chambers Journal of Literature, Science and Arts" (no "Apostrophy-S")
- Fyfe, Aileen (2012). Steam-Powered Knowledge: William Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-27651-9.