Samuel Smiles, doctor, writer, railway developer and insurance agent

Haddington was the birthplace of John Knox. Most small towns are content to have produced even one eminent person, but at the start of the nineteenth century Samuel Smiles was born in the town. Almost forgotten today, he was immensely influential, the leading self-help writer of his age, and a popular historian of the early days of the Industrial Revolution. He’s remembered by a bronze plaque on the wall of his house in the High Street, and by little else.

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