W. D. & H. O. Wills

W. D. & H. O. Wills

W. D. & H. O. Wills Ltd. was a tobacco and cigarette manufacturer in Bristol.

The company was founded as Wills, Watkins & Co. by Henry Overton Wills I and his partner Samuel Watkins, who opened a shop in Castle Street, Bristol in 1786. In 1826 Henry Wills’ two sons, William Day Wills and Henry Overton Wills, took control of the company which was renamed W. D. & H .O. Wills.

The firm made steady progress manufacturing and selling tobacco products and in 1871 entered the cigarette market with the original Bristol brand. This was followed in 1874 by Passing Clouds, in 1878 by Three Castles and in 1888 one of the most famous cigarette brands in the UK, Woodbines, at a price of 1d for five cigarettes.

In 1901 W. D. & H. O. Wills merged with seven other British tobacco companies to form Imperial Tobacco, which remains one of the world’s largest tobacco companies today.