British Workman magazine

Scope and Content

Britsh Workman magazine (incomplete) 1855-1892

Administrative / Biographical History

The founder of the British Workman was  Thomas Bywater Smithies, who was born in York in  1817 . He had a great interest in temperance work and believed that literature could be a powerful tool for doing good in that work. In 1851 he published the Band of Hope Review and Sunday Scholars' Friend. Following that publication, Smithies established the long running firm of  S W Partridge & Co and began the British Workman in January  1855  edited by himself. It was a four page illustrated paper produced monthly at the cost of 1d. From the start it was evident that Smithies put a considerable amount of his own money into the publication as he required a print run of 100,000 to break even. Other philanthropists contributed, no. 57’s print run of 200,000 being paid for by four friends with all copies being donated to the London City Mission to be distributed abroad. By  1868  there were editions in four major European languages as well as Latin. Very eminent artists like  George Cruikshank (1792-1878 ) and  Sir John Gilbert drew for it and Lord Shaftsbury was a constant supporter. Florence Nightingale distributed it to troops in the Crimean War. Smithies died in  1883  and the publication was bought by the firm who had produced it for 28, S.W.Partridge and Co.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Gift: Hector Swash, lecturer, Glasgow Caledonian University: 2001

Other Finding Aids

Item level list available via the resources section of Heatherbank Museum of Social Work Web pages ( . Printed item level list also available.

Alternative Form Available

Individual copies are held at the British Library.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Copies of the British Workman are oversize and in a fragile condition.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Museum Curator, Heatherbank Museum of Social Work.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Mrs Swash until 2001


None expected

Related Material

Finding aids for the Subject-based Ephemera Collection and a Resources Library, which holds supporting material and published literature, may contain associated information and can be consulted via   Heatherbank Museum of Social Work Web pages. A subject-based Newspaper Cuttings Collection is also available for consultation.

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material