Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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W. H. Smith and Son

W. H Smith & Son, bookshop, Ryde Esplanade

June 1895
Mr. Cheverton whose face was well-known at Messrs. Smith and Son’s Ryde bookstall, was promoted, and had taken charge of a larger branch at Portsmouth.  Mr. Cheverton had been 28 years with Smith and Son in the Island, and for 16 years had been in charge of the Ryde stall, which he had conducted in a systematic and business-like style, which had won for him a great deal of respect.  He was succeeded by Mr. Ticehurst, late of Kingston-on-Thames.

Advert 1911

The enormous extent of Messrs. Smith and Son’s business may be understood when it is stated that they had 600 independent bookstalls in England, not counting the little branch stalls which were to be found at small stations.  The firm seemed to treat their employés with much kindness and consideration, and were spoken well of by them.  There was a regular system of promotion which brought about the changes at the Ryde bookstall, and many others.

November 1911
At this time the firm of W. H. Smith & Son were opening a large shop on the Ryde Esplanade by the station. The whole pavement in the area between the Pier Hotel and Messrs. Pickford’s Office was in a very bad state, and the Council had many complaints.  The Public Works Committee recommended that owing to Messrs. Smith & Son’s large shop being built and the amount of complaints received, that repairing the pavement with concrete slabs be carried out at a cost of £68.

March 1912
A smoking concert arranged for the purposes of saying farewell to Mr. F. Grinham and Mr. T. Ibbotson, of the firm of W. H. Smith and Son, who were leaving shortly for Canada, was held at Sivier’s Hotel, on Thursday evening.  The local manager, Mr. Andrews, presided and presented Messrs. Grinham and Ibbotson with a purse of money subscribed by the employes and a number of customers, and wished them every success in their new sphere.

February 1919
Messrs. W. H. Smith and Son, entertained the whole of their Isle of Wight staff of managers and assistants, at Yelf’s Hotel on the 5th February.

The Hon. W. H. Smith, head of the great firm of newsagents, and sometimes M.P. for the Strand division of London.  He was the son of Mr. W. H. Smith, who died without titular honours after a long and useful career in the House of Commons, and whose wife was made Viscountess Hambleden in her own right.

Sources: IW Observer, RSHG Archive
Image: Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett