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Statue erected in memory of William Chambers of Glenormiston. It faces the Royal Museum in Chambers Street, Edinburgh.

William Chambers of Glenormiston or William Chambers (16 April 1800 – 20 May 1883) was a Scottish publisher and politician, the brother (and partner) of Robert Chambers and both brothers were highly influential in the mid-19th century in both scientific and political circles.



He was born in Peebles and moved to Edinburgh in 1814 to work in the bookselling trade and soon branched out into printing. He opened his own publishing shop in 1819[1]. 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 (See below). Their publishing business prospered, and in 1859 – the year in which Chambers's Encyclopaedia saw the light – he founded a museum and art gallery in Peebles.

As Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1865 to 1869, Chambers was responsible for the restoration of St Giles Cathedral. Not far away, a statue was erected in his memory, in Chambers Street.

W. & R. Chambers

In the beginning of 1832 William Chambers started a weekly publication under the title of Chambers's Journal, (known since 1854 as Chambers's Journal of Literature, Science and Arts[2]), which speedily attained a large circulation and to which his younger brother Robert Chambers was at first only a contributor. After fourteen volumes 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. The two brothers also united as partners in the publishing book publishing firm of W. & R. Chambers Publishers, though it is unclear as to when and by what name, (who owned it as distinct from Williams publishing house initially since Williams' 1819 company far antedates Roberts billing as an co-editor (much less co-publisher) and which was to become (only in the nineties) Chambers Harrap Publishers after over a century (nearer two) in business.

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.

In culture

He was played by Christopher Lee in the 2005 feature film Greyfriars Bobby.

See also

External links


  1. ^ per Wikipedia at Chambers Harrap Publishers, 1st publication date, retrieval date: 2009-03-09
  2. ^ "sale offering of, bound collection". Retrieved 2009-03-09. "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")" 


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