Tain Folk - Some Famous People

Tain Community Collage

William Smith

A Photograph of William Smith - Photographer


Smith was born in Hopeman, Moray in 1824. He was apprenticed at a fancy goods shop in Forres and in 1844 moved to Nairn where he went into business as a bookseller and newsagent. He moved to Tain in about 1850 and opened a newsagent's shop at 27 High Street (now Smart's). Business was slow as at that time newspapers were heavily taxed and expensive. Smith soon started to experiment with photography and was known for trying our "every novelty in the art". He became one of Ross-shire's earliest and foremost photographers and photographed the royal family on their visits to Dunrobin in 1866 and 1872.

Smith was also involved in a number of charitable enterprises, notably the Tain Ragged Sabbath School which he founded in 1858 and ran for many years. By the time of his death in 1906 he had been an elder of the Free Church for 52 years.

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