Last Name Balfour
First Name John
Other Last Name
Other First Name
Birth Date 1715
Death Date 1795
Gender m
Biographical Notes BALFOUR, John bookseller, printer, auctioneer and papermaker Edinburgh
booksellers Gavin Hamilton & John Balfour 1739-64
Opposite Parliament Close 1741-9
Opposite the Cross Well 1751-64
John Balfour same address 1764-70
Head of Anchor Close 1771-73
North side of the Cross 1774-78
John Balfour & Co same address 1777-82
Fisher Close 1782
John & Elphinstone Balfour at the Cross 1781-86
Elphingston Balfour at the Cross 1788
printers Hamilton. Balfour & Neill, College 1749-63
Balfour, Auld & Smellie same address 1767-70
Balfour and Smellie same address 1771-89
Morocco's Close Lawnmarket 1767-1771
Foot of Anchor Close opposite to the Cross Well 1771-1789
auctioneer Gavin Hamilton & John Balfour Auction House in East wing of New Exchange 1760-3
Earlier the Auction House was in Writers Court
papermakers Gavin Hamilton & John Balfour Bogshill Paper Mill, Colinton 1755-62
Gavin Hamilton same address 1762-66
Dr Robert Hamilton same address 1767-74
John Balfour same address 1774-1813
and Kate's Mill, Colinton 1783-1825
tea warehouse Foot of the West Bow 1782
paper warehouse John Balfour and Sons foot of the West Bow 1784
Tea and paper warehouse foot of West Bow 1785
& Son Cowgate Head 1790
Foot of the West Bow 1793-99
& Co same address 1800-03
& Sons same address 1804-07
& Co merchants Opposite the Cross South side 1808-11
paper warehouse 429 High Street 1812-21
Old Stamp Office Close 221 High Street 1822-27
Born 1715, died 1795; Married Helen Balfour 24 March 1732; Married Mrs Catherine Cant, daughter of the late Ludovick Cant of Thurstone 4 January 1747; Gavin Hamilton & John Balfour were made Printers to the University of Edinburgh 15 May 1754. Member of the Edinburgh Bookseller's Society 7 February 1776. The National Library of Scotland has a catalogue dated 1764 and catalogues of John Balfour & Co dated 1779 and 1780; The partnership between Hamilton and Balfour was dissolved in 1762, but Balfour traded under the name until 1764; From 1762 to 1774 the papermill at Bogshill was owned by Gavin Hamilton and his son Dr Robert Hamilton. Notice of move from Morocco's Close in Edinburgh Evening Courant 16 November 1771; Balfour & Smellie appear in imprint of some Edinburgh University theses after Balfour's death.
NLS Impr Ind; EdinMarr; Edin Dir; Warren McDougall. Gavin Hamilton, John Balfour and Patrick Neill: a study of publishing in Edinburgh in the Eighteenth Century. Edinburgh University Ph.D. Thesis, 1974; Thomson; Waterston 2; Sher. Edinburgh Booksellers (SBTI)
Biographical Annotation John Balfour was an influential Scottish bookseller and printer. He was educated privately and at Edinburgh university, matriculating in the class of 1729-30. In 1733, he was employed as a clerk in the bookshop of his brother-in-law, Gavin Hamilton. A few years later, he became a partner in the business, and though he and Hamilton were often at odds, the business flourished under their joint management. They formed lucrative printing partnerships with Patrick Neill and, later, William Smellie, and became the official printers to Edinburgh University. Along with student texts and fine editions of classics, Balfour and Hamilton produced the first Scottish edition of Shakespeare. The partnership dissolved in 1762, but Balfour continued to succeed in his trade, gradually transitioning from book-selling to paper-making in the 1780s. His irksome temper was the source of several disputes with the younger generation of printers and paper-makers. He died in 1795, at the age the seventy-nine, leaving the paper-making and book-selling businesses to his sons, John jr. and Elphingston Balfour. [info from ODNB]
Nationality Scottish
Person URI
Resident In the Lake District No
Resident In London No
Resident Outside UK No
Travel Outside UK No
Birthplace South Leith
Deathplace Edinburgh