The Group has a history dating back over 150 years to the family enterprise of Thomas James Smith who opened a small pharmacy in Hull, England in 1856. On his death in 1896, his nephew Horatio Nelson Smith took over the management of the business.
A few days after the declaration of World War 1 in 1914, Horatio Nelson Smith (the nephew of the company founder T. J Smith) met with an envoy of the French President in London. The company was awarded a contract to supply ￡350,000 of surgical and field dressings, to be delivered in five months.
By the late 1990s, Smith & Nephew had expanded into being a diverse healthcare conglomerate with operations across the globe, including various medical devices, personal care products and traditional and pioneering woundcare treatments. In 1998, Smith & Nephew announced a major restructuring to focus management attention and investment on three business units — wound management, endoscopy and orthopaedics— which offered high growth and margin opportunities.
Smith & Nephew was incorporated and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1937 and in 1999 the Group was also listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2001, Smith & Nephew became a constituent member of the FTSE-100 index in the UK. This means that Smith & Nephew is included in the top 100 companies traded on the London Stock Exchange measured in terms of market capitalisation.
Today, Smith & Nephew is a public limited company incorporated and headquartered in the UK and doing business in many countries around the world.