Venerable British bookstore chain.
The chain was founded in 1792, when Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna opened a small news-stand in Little Grosvenor Street in London. In 1828, after the death of both parents, the chain passed on to the sons Henry Edward
and William Henry Smith. William Henry was the "more capable businessman" of the two, and the chain became known as "W H Smith".
The actual shift from news vending to bookselling
began in 1848, when a book stall was opened in a train station in Euston, on November 1st. With the expanding railway system in England, book stalls in other railway stations soon followed.
Worldwide expansion of the chain began in 1903, with a store opening in Paris. Expansion into different international markets continued, including into Canada in 1950.
Today, the chain remains the leading bookseller in the United Kingdom, with corporate stakes in several other business ventures, and presence in several other countries throughout the world.
Some info taken from the corporate site: http://www.whsmithplc.com