I came across the mention of your website in ‘Family Tree Magazine’, March 2007, p. 48 which I bought this morning (they are a little late in the Antipodes)and have just had a look at your website.
My great-grandfather, William Edward Orchard of London was a staff member of this company. What he did, I am not quite sure, but he was still with them at the age of 68 in 1903. I have a feeling he was a mercantile accountant of some description.
Why do I know he was with them in 1903? I hold two letters from him, one written to his son, here in Australia (Sydney) while on the SS Greek en-route to South Africa, dated 10 September 1903, in which he mentions he was 68 in that year and having never travelled by sea, the opportunity was presented and he was travelling with all expenses paid. The other was written on 12 November 1903 on his return to London, on board the SS Avondale Castle, then carrying over 800 troops, mostly Hussars, returning to England from the South African War (Boer War). Both letters carry the Union-Castle flag. I have placed the original letters in the National Library of Australia, but hold electronic images.
I was wondering if you were also looking at company staff based on-shore and in London, and whether you have come across the Orchard name. I noticed it wasn’t on your lists on the web.