The Snuff Tobacco Reference

George Smith and the George Smith and Sons Tobacconist Concern

George Smith established himself as a tobacconist trading as George Smith and Sons at 3 Little St. Andrew Street in the Seven Dials area of London in 1869, and in 1886 the firm acquired an additional premises at 74 Charing Cross Road which it would become popularly associated with.1 2 3

The historical record is quite silent about the company until after the Second World War, when on 1946-06-17 the cigar merchant Harry Lewis (1892–1949) had it incorporated as H. Lewis (Cigars) Limited,4 having acquired the business from an Arthur Thomas Rawson Smith (d. 1951).5

In 1948 a Vivian Rose (1919–2003) became involved in the G. Smith & Sons outfit by way of marrying Jean (d. 1986), the daughter of Harry Lewis, and the young couple would inherit the company at the death of Lewis in 1949.5 Under the tenure of the Roses, G. Smith & Sons would become particularly associated with snuff tobacco, and an undated but pre-decimal price list has the firm offering a range of forty-one distinct house blends of snuff, among them Black Rappee, Latakia, and S. P. Best.6 The firm would also become a corporate member of The Society of Snuff Grinders, Blenders and Purveyors,7 which was a snuff tobacco trade association that Mr. Rose was instrumental in founding.5

The Sobranie tobacco concern acquired the G. Smith & Sons company in 1969 whilst retaining the services of Vivian Rose,5 and in the same year changed its name to Smith the Snuff Blender Limited.8 Having decided to exit the retail trade generally, Sobranie sold the G. Smith & Sons business in 1978 to Merton Pipes (London) Ltd.5

Vivian Rose retired after nearly fifty years with the firm at an unclear date in the early to mid 1990s (T. Rose, personal communication, 2022-11-21), and it was around this time on 1993-01-08 that the company name was again changed to Smith & Shervingtons Ltd.9

Ultimately, the historic G. Smith & Sons Charing Cross Road shop closed circa 2012,10 and the corporation was formally dissolved on 2013-03-03.11


Acknowledgement is made to Tony Rose for providing certain information that features in this article, specifically dates concerning Vivian Rose and family.


  1. Snuff Yesterday and Today. Cecil William Shepherd. Page 12. 1963. Digitised version
  2. Tobacco Reporter. Blending snuff for generals, MPs—and almost everybody else. Mark Stone. Volume 99; Number 9; Issue 1972-09; Page 24. 1972. Digitised version
  3. The Post Office London Trades’ Directory for 1891. Kelly & Co. Page 2107. 1891. Digitised version
  4. Certificate of Incorporation №412,881 for H. Lewis (Cigars) Limited. Registrar of Companies. 1946.
  5. Tobacco. Smith’s the Original. Colin Southam. Unknown Issue; Page 36. Digitised version
  6. Smith’s for Snuff. G. Smith & Sons. Digitised version
  7. Tobacco. Make Friends With Snuff! Issue 1987-05; Pages 17–19. 1987. Digitised version
  8. Certificate of Incorporation On Change of Name №412,881. Registrar of Companies. 1969.
  9. Certificate of Incorporation On Change of Name №412,881. Registrar of Companies. 1993.
  10. Photograph of the G. Smith & Sons 74 Charing Cross Road premesis dated circa 2012-02 that shows the shop to be vacant as evidenced by a To Let sign displayed in an empty window. Digital copy
  11. Document of dissolution for Smith & Shervingtons Limited. Registrar of Companies. 2013.