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Smith, W. H

Smith, W. H. A nation-wide chain of retail outlets of books, newspapers, stationery, recordings, games, and other leisure products. William Henry Smith (1792–1865) was born in London where his widowed mother ran a small newspaper business. W. H. Smith extended it, laying the foundations for growth during the second half of the 19th cent. As the railway network expanded, the company secured concessions for kiosks to sell newspapers and periodicals at principal stations from most railway companies. Until 1960 many of the high street shops also ran lending library departments. In partnership with Boots, the company assumed control of Do-It-All, the household goods supermarket chain. W. H. Smith's son (also W. H.), who entered politics, was satirized by Gilbert and Sullivan as ‘ruler of the Queen's Navee’ when 1st lord of the Admiralty (1877–80).

Ian John Ernest Keil

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