City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Chambers Dictionary Publisher To Close Edinburgh Office

By edg - Posted on 29 October 2009

Scotland's oldest publisher will be closing at Hogmanay, it was announced yesterday. All 27 employees at Chambers Harrap, famed for its English-language Chambers dictionary, have agreed to redundancy and the Edinburgh office will shut down this Hogmanay. Chambers was established in 1819 and merged with Harraps in the 1990s.

Euro MP David Martin was one of many voices calling for the Edinburgh office of the iconic dictionary to be kept open.

"Chambers Street is named after one of its founders, William Chambers, who was Lord Provost, and who paid for the restoration of St Giles Cathedral.  His brother Robert was editor of Chambers Magazine, one of the great engines of self-education for ordinary people in the 19th century," said Martin. 

"The Chambers Dictionary is a favourite resource of crossword fans and word-lovers and has been endorsed by Philip Pullman as ‘the most human of dictionaries’.  The 11th edition published, in 2008 has a preface by Jeremy Paxman (the question master on University Challenge), sells very well and has a bright future – let’s make that future in Edinburgh, Scotland."

Chambers reference books have faced ferocious competition in the internet era with parent company Hachette UK failing to find a buyer for the Chambers’ business.

Ann Field, national officer of Unite/GPM said, "The internet serves to expand massively resources of information.  But replacement of the printed word is only in the interests of accountants and bankers, not the readers and researchers."

The Chambers imprints are expected to be merged into Hachette's operations in London and Paris.