Looking back, it’s incredible to think that in the year when our first shop opened George Washington was serving as the first American President, France’s King Louis XVI went on trial for high treason and crimes against the state and Ludwig Van Beethoven received his first lesson in music composition. We’ve seen ten UK kings and queens, the creation of the United Kingdom and the abolishment of the slave trade. We saw Big Ben ring for the first time, the invention of the first electric light and railway mania in the 1800s. And not to mention countless authors change the way we see the world with their writing.
225 years is a monumental time to reflect upon, and so for 2017 we’re planning a year-long campaign to celebrate our anniversary.
To start, we’re pledging to raise £2 million to be donated across three charities voted for by WHSmith employees; Cancer Research UK , Mind and National Literacy Trust. And so throughout the year we’ll be holding exciting fundraising events around the UK to help us reach our target, including taking part in a number of adventurous sporting challenges (Race for Life, Three Peaks Challenge and a WHSmith Relay Race), producing a variety of commemorative charity products and supporting our colleagues across the business with their fundraising ideas.
We’ll also be reminiscing on the key events in WHSmith’s history over the last 225 years, celebrating our involvement in the rail industry and the success of yellowbacks, our close ties with education and schools, our pioneering role in the books industry and much more.
And of course we’ll be calling on the public to join in with our celebrations by looking back on the last 225 years with us. Online, we’ll be discussing the greatest books of the last 225 years, swapping school time memories of trips to the stationery aisle, sharing mind-bending facts about our place in history and looking to the future of our industries.
Use #WHS225 to join in with the conversation online and check out more of our initiatives to celebrate 225 years in stores throughout 2017.