William Blackwood (1776-1834) was born in Edinburgh in 1776 and apprenticed to a bookseller at 14. In 1804 he began in business on his own at 64 Bridge Street then moved to 17 Princes Street in 1816. He finally settled at 45 George Street in 1830. He was keenly interested in civic affairs and in 1828 was elected Commissioner of Police, a position he held to his death in 1834. In that year he began publishing ‘Statistical Accounts’ of the parishes assembled into county volumes. Each was accompanied by a county map engraved by W. H. Lizars.
The business was continued by his sons Alexander Blackwood (1806-45) and Robert Blackwood (1808-52). In 1838 the county maps were gathered into ‘Blackwood’s Atlas of Scotland’, in both quarto and octavo editions. The advertisements states ‘The Maps, forming a complete Atlas of Scotland, in 1 vol. 4to, handsomely bound in cloth, price 21s; or in small 8vo, neatly bound in leather with tuck, for travelling, price 10s 6d.’ In 1839 further roads were added by Lizars. There were later editions to 1853, this being an example of the 1847. A third son John Blackwood (1818-79) ran the London branch from 1840 and on the death of Robert ran the firm. Refer Chubb 36; Moir (1973) I p. 137, II p. 155 no. 14; Tooley’s Dictionary; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).