Sunday, 25 January 2015

WHSmith, Broadbent Street, W1K

Wandering through Mayfair the other day, I snapped a quick couple of pictures showing the location of the first WHSmith store, back in 1792. This is looking north from the bottom of the street:

The street – today Broadbent Street – was called Little Grosvenor Street when Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna opened their news vendor business. 

There's no evidence of its existence, and almost all of the buildings are new. The street also used to run further south before it was abbreviated by the construction of Grosvenor Hill Court.

But it's interesting to see how such a big retailer started out in such a small street, and this was 56 years before the company opened a news stand at Euston station, kicking off a rapid expansion on the back of the growth of the railways.

Here's a pic standing on Grosvenor Street, looking south to the top of what was Little Grosvenor Street: