W H Smith Museum

The shops of W H Smith & Son, selling newspapers, stationery and books, could be seen on most high streets of England and Wales during the twentieth century. The growth of the company was due principally to William Henry Smith (1825-91), grandson of the founder of a London news vending business, who became a partner in 1846, and prospered from the growth of the railway system by wholesaling newspapers distributed by train, and by establishing bookstalls on station platforms. In the twentieth century shops of a distinctive style were opened in most English and Welsh towns. The company museum, the shop in Newtown, opened in an early nineteenth century building in 1927, has been restored to resemble its original condition with a tiled fascia, bow windows and interior fittings of oak bearing the shields of sixteen universities. A display indicates the character of the lending libraries that flourished in many of Smith’s shops until 1961. The Newtown branch was too small to have stained glass, but some panels from the store at Worcester are displayed, together with a handcart of the kind used by Smith’s employees to collect newspapers from railway stations.

W H Smith Museum
24 High Street
SY16 2NP Newtown
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1686 - 626280