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James Ballantyne


1772 - 1833

Printer and Publisher. Ballantyne was born in Kelso, the elder brother of John Ballantyne (1774 - 1821). Following a legal training at the University of Edinburgh, he gave up the law for the printing industry. He set up a business in Kelso (1802), where he met Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832). With Scott's assistance the business was transferred to Edinburgh, situated between the Canongate and Leith Wynd. They successfully published several of Scott's works, although the firm constantly suffered financial problems. The company moved to Clare House in Newington in 1870, due to the expansion of Waverley Station. A London branch opened in 1878 and the Edinburgh printing works closed in 1916.

Both James Ballantyne and his brother are buried in the Canongate Kirkyard. A printing press which was used by the brothers to print Scott's novels can be seen in the Writer's Museum off Edinburgh's Lawnmarket.


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