Smith was the son of George Smith of Truro and his wife Elizabeth Hurral Bickford. He was educated at Saltash and Plymouth. His grandfather William Bickford had developed a method of making mining fuses using rope which was safer than previous methods and with Smith's father had established a factory at Tuckingmill, Cornwall. Smith became a partner in his father's firm of Bickford, Smith, & Co. and lived near the factory at Camborne. There was another factory St. Helen's Junction, Lancashire, and Smith was also chairman of Helston Railway. He was also captain in the 15th Cornwall Rifle Volunteers and J.P. for Cornwall. In 1868, he took the additional surname of Bickford, when he inherited the property of his maternal grandfather. Bickford-Smith purchased the Trevarno Estate, at Helston, Cornwall in 1874 and set about developing the gardens. In 1882 he funded the construction of the Bickford-Smith Institute and clock tower at Porthleven which was built as a scientific and literary institute including a lending and reference library.
Bickford-Smith was elected at the 1885 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Truro. In 1886 he was re-elected as a Liberal Unionist and held the seat until he stood down at the 1892 general election.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by William Bickford-Smith
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir James McGarel-Hogg, Bt.
Edward Brydges Willyams
|Member of Parliament for Truro
1885 – 1892
John Charles Williams