Duncan J. D. Smith

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Born 1 December 1960, Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Travel writer, photographer, historian, explorer and publisher
Nationality British
Years active 1992-present
Website Duncan J. D. Smith – Urban Explorer

Duncan J. D. Smith FRGS (born 1 December 1960) is a British travel writer, photographer, historian, and explorer.

Life and career[edit]

Smith was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England in 1960. Both his parents were librarians. His maternal grandfather was P.G.M. Dickinson, former Archivist of the County and Borough of Huntingdon.[1] Dickinson rediscovered the town charters of Huntingdon in 1941.[2] Smith’s Scottish great grandfather was Alexander James Smith, who was instrumental in establishing Chivas Regal as a global brand in the early twentieth century.[3] Smith’s great great grandfather was Henry Doman, the nineteenth century Lymington poet and friend of Coventry Patmore.[4] His great great great grandfather was Professor Charles Spooner of the Royal Veterinary College.[5]

Educated in Sheffield, Smith simultaneously ran his own private museum.[6] He then attended Birmingham University and studied Ancient History and Archaeology. Between 1985 and 2003 Smith worked in the publishing industry, during which time he wrote five local history books about Sheffield and Yorkshire, four of them with his late father Trevor Smith.[7] The book Yorkshire: A Portrait in Colour (1995) has remained in print for over fifteen years.[8]

Since 2003 Smith has worked as a travel writer, photographer, historian, and explorer. He favours travelling off the beaten track in search of unusual places and people. His European findings are being published in an original series of books called the ‘Only In’ Guides.[9] Published volumes include Berlin, Budapest, Cologne, Edinburgh, Hamburg, London, Munich, Paris, Prague, Vienna and Zurich.[10] Smith has also written for magazines such as Hidden Europe.[11]

Smith’s travels also encompass parts of Africa (including Ethiopia), the Middle East (including Syria and Jordan), and Asia (Sri Lanka).[12]

Smith has created a website celebrating Penguin Books’ vintage cerise-coloured ‘Travel & Adventure’ series.[13]

In 2007 Smith was accepted as a member of Travelwriters UK. In 2010 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 2011 he was elected a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.

CuChullaine O’Reilly, co-founder of the Long Riders’ Guild, has described Smith as “the thinking man’s exploratory investigator”.[14]


South & West Yorkshire Curiosities (with Trevor Smith) (1992)
North & East Yorkshire Curiosities (with Trevor Smith) (1993)
Yorkshire – A Portrait in Colour (1995)
Sheffield Curiosities (with Trevor Smith) (1999)
More Sheffield Curiosities (with Trevor Smith) (2000)
Only in Vienna (2005)
Only in Budapest (2006)
Only in Prague (2008)
Only in Berlin (2008)
Only in Munich (2009)
Only in Hamburg (2010)
Only in Cologne (2011)
Only in Zurich (2012)
Only in Paris (2013)
Only in London (2015)
Only in Edinburgh (2016)


  1. ^ Philip G. M. Dickinson at philipgmdickinson.com
  2. ^ The Royal Charters at cambridgeshire.gov.uk
  3. ^ A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and the Glenlivet Became Global Icons by F. Paul Pacult pp 158-159
  4. ^ Memoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore at ebooksread.com
  5. ^ Professor Charles Spooner at en.wikisource.org
  6. ^ About Duncan J. D. Smith at duncanjdsmith.com
  7. ^ Yorkshire books at duncanjdsmith.com
  8. ^ Yorkshire: A Portrait in Colour published by The Dovecote Press
  9. ^ The ‘Only In’ Guides published by The Urban Explorer
  10. ^ Only in Edinburgh at onlyinguides.com
  11. ^ Duncan J. D. Smith at hiddeneurope.co.uk
  12. ^ A Conversation with Duncan J. D. Smith at theurbanologist.com
  13. ^ Penguin Travel & Adventure at penguincerisetravel.com
  14. ^ Duncan J. D. Smith at mikaelstrandberg.com

External links[edit]

Official Duncan J. D. Smith website
Official ‘Only in’ Guides website
Penguin Cerise Travel website