Born in York, Smithies initially worked as an insurance clerk there. Having saved an amount of money, he moved to London in about 1850, becoming a manager in a gutta percha factory. In 1851 he used his savings to commence his career as a publisher with The Band of Hope Review, a temperance magazine. This was followed in 1855 by The British Workman. The monthly magazine's aim was "promote the health, wealth and happiness of the working classes". The magazine's use of large engravings, layout and typeface were innovative and were widely copied. Smithies followed with other magazines: The Children's Friend, The Infant's Magazine, The Family Friend and Friendly Greetings All of these magazines, which had a number of writers, promoted socialism, protestantism and temperance. Smithies himself was a Methodist and a strict observer of the sabbath.
Smithies did not seek to make a profit with all proceeds from sales reinvested in the business. He refused to place advertisements in his publications, which he felt would lower the moral tone. He also would not allow the sale of the wood blocks for the engravings that illustrated the magazines, fearing they might be used for "base purposes".
Apart from his publishing activities Smithies was highly active in many philanthropic organisations and in organising meeting for the causes he promoted. In 1870 he was elected a member of the first London School Board.
Supported the militant suffragettes .
Some information here 
- ↑ Murray, Frank. Smithies, Thomas Bywater (1817–1883), campaigner for temperance and for animal welfare. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- ↑ Thomas Bywater Smithies (1817-1883).
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Obituary". The Times: p. 10. 25 July 1883.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "The Late Mr T B Smithies". The York Herald: p. 3. 30 July 1883.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Rowe, G Stringer (1884). T.B. Smithies editor of "The British workman" :a memoir. London: S W Partridge. http://archive.org/stream/tbsmithieseditor00rowe#page/n0/mode/2up.
- ↑ Labour history holdings. Glasgow Caledonian University.
- ↑ "London School Board Elections". Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper. 4 December 1870.
- ↑ "Deaths". The Times: p. 1. 24 July 1883.