William Hill, the man and the business
Racing Post Books
This is the story of how a working class boy born into a family of 13 children in pre-First World War Birmingham grew up to revolutionise the world of betting and bookmaking. William Hill beat the odds by starting out as a teenageone-man band making the rounds of Birmingham’s factories, pubs and clubs on his second-hand motorbike taking very small bets. He went on to launch a fixed odds football betting business which took a total of £6 18/6d in its first week, but grew to a multi-million pound turnover before being almost taxed into extinction. However, today, William Hill, whose first London office was opened in 1934, and staffed by just William and one clerk, is a truly global bookmaker, with offices in nine countries; operating across 19 time zones, is a FTSE 100 company, has over 2,500 betting shops and employs nearly 20,000 people.
Shortlisted for the Horse Racing Book of the Year in the 2015 British Sports Book Awards