Little is known about his early life and career, but by the age of 20 Edward Blackmore was serving as a junior officer on a merchant ship. His career as a shipmaster apparently commenced under Peter Denny of Dumbarton and he subsequently became a large shareholder in several steamers, including the Carthage and Viscount Channing, which carried troops to the Crimeaand later to India. He later settled in Greenock, Scotland and established an engineering firm with Daniel Rankin in 1863 under the name of Rankin and Blackmore. He also became involved in local politics, government and other public affairs. For example, he was a member of the first Greenock School Board, 1873-76; he served on the Harbour Trust and was a member of the Town Council; and was involved in the election campaign of the Conservative candidate, Sir James Fergusson, who contested the seat of Greenock in1878. In the later 1880s, he removed to London where he became involved in the work of the Shipmasters' Society and the Shipmasters and Officers Federation and served as President of both institutions.