Albert Smith was born in 1816, the son of a Chertsey doctor. He initially followed in his father’s footsteps, but soon abandoned medicine in preference of his real passion, drama and literature. Between 1843 and 1851 he wrote at least 24 books. One of these “Blanche Heriot”, or the “Chertsey Curfew” was produced as a play in 1842.
Although all of his works enjoyed great popularity, Smith was not one to rest on his laurels. In 1849 he took to globe trotting, and during this year he made a trip round the Mediterranean to Constantinople (Istanbul)and it was here that he was guided by an old neighbour from Chertsey, Mr Frederick Taylor.
His trip This was time well spent though, as on his return, Smith was able to put on exciting and entertaining shows about his adventures abroad. His greatest success came with his “Mont Blanc” show, which ran for five years. A shrewd entrepreneur, as well a great showman, Smith also ensured his place at the forefront of the showman’s market by gaining commercial sponsorship and producing a wide range of merchandise related to his show.
In addition to this work, Smith was also a regular contributor to the Illustrated London News, for whom he wrote theatre and restaurant reviews as well as publicity for his own activities. He died in 1860 at the height of his popularity