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Orient Steam Navigation Co Ltd

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 OSN
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Orient Steam Navigation Co Ltd
Date(s): [1911-1970]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: Department of Ships: 4 boxes
Name of creator(s): Orient Steam Navigation Co Ltd


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Orient Steam Navigation Company was established in 1878 and jointly managed by the London shipowning firms of Anderson, Anderson and Company and F. Green and Company until 1919, when the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company acquired a controlling interest in its shareholding capital; at approximately the same time the dual management of the undertaking by the Anderson and Green companies came to an end and the two businesses were merged into a private limited company formed for the purpose, Anderson, Green and Company Limited. The Orient company was a small enterprise operating a handful of very large ships in virtually one trade, the mail and passenger service to Australia and New Zealand. In due course it provided a co-ordinated service in this region with ships of the P&O fleet; in later years, similarly in collaboration with P&O, a passenger service between North American ports and Australia and New Zealand was instituted, and in attempts to promote passenger traffic in the Pacific, a series of voyages between North America, the Far East and Australia were inaugurated. The company's ships were also extensively employed in ocean cruising. Anderson, Green and Company Limited, the managers, were brought under the P and O umbrella in 1949, but the P and O and Orient companies maintained separate identities and independent shore organizations until 1960 when the services were run together and the balance of the ordinary share-holdings of the Orient company was bought up by P and O. A new company, P and O/Orient Lines Passenger Services Limited, better known under its trading name, Orient and Pacific Lines, was set up to run the services of the two companies, an arrangement which ceased to exist in 1966. In the following years the former Orient company vessels gradually came into P and O ownership and their livery was likewise altered. See 'Steam to Australia', Syren and Shipping, July 1938; Stephen Rabson, 'Orient -- a mark of quality', Wavelength, June 1977.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Orient Steam Navigation Co Ltd .Most of them are post-Second World War; the majority of the earlier records were destroyed when the company's city offices were bombed in the early part of the war. For Anderson, Green and Company Limited, surviving material includes the minutes of the Directors' meetings, 1941 to 1969; the Reports of the Directors to the Annual General Meetings of the Shareholders, 1941 to 1969; the Register of Directors and Secretaries, 1919 to 1969; files containing items for Secretary's Agenda, 1960, and miscellaneous correspondence, 1960 to 1965. Among the Orient Steam Navigation Company papers are minutes of a committee of the Directors, 1946 to 1948; minutes of the Directors' meetings, 1948 to 1964; Annual Reports from the Directors to the Shareholders, 1945 to 1960, together with balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and newspaper cuttings. The company Seal Register, 1959 to 1965, is also present and there are copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the company, with amendments, 1900 to 1965. The shareholders' records include lists of dividends paid to shareholders, 1954 to 1964. There is also a file containing some correspondence and other documents on the offer made by the P&O Company to Orient Line ordinary shareholders, 1960, together with acceptance forms for the sale of shares, and similar for preference shareholders, 1965. Few book-keeping records have survived, but there are some working papers on cash accumulations and analysis of receipts and payments, 1937 to 1940 and 1949 to 1953; private ledgers, 1933 to 1948, 1955 to 1959; journal, 1953 to 1966; analysis of passenger embarkations and passage earnings, 1959; and steamers' ledgers, 1947, and 1958 to 1959, together with a cash book analysis ledger, 1960; investment ledgers, 1924 to 1959. There are several files containing display advertising samples, 1931 to 1940, 1949 to 1953, and a number of copies of the Orient Line Guide, which went through several editions, 1888 to 1901 Records of ships include a selection of ship files, 1936 to 1954, including voyage reports, ship sinkings in the Second World War, newspaper cuttings, etc; some material on schedules, 1956 to 1958; passenger earnings, 1956; and a box of papers on migration, 1947 to 1956. Books of Instructions, to commanders on the carrying of mails, 1911; pursers, 1931; surgeons, 1947; and officers, 1960, have also been retained, together with a copy of Uniform Regulations, 1958. Staff records include a volume containing Reports on Character, Stewards' Department, ca.1913 to ca.1925. Finally, there are several copies of the Articles of Association of P&O/ Orient Lines Passenger Services Limited. (Section 3: OSN/: 45ft: 1,372cm) Ships' Plans: these were deposited on loan in 1963, 1969 and 1970. This collection comprises prints and linen tracings of six typical Orient liners, 1917 to 1937. Lines, general arrangements and hydrostatics are included as are 'as fitted' drawings and specifications.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were deposited on loan by P&O in 1972 and 1979.

Allied Materials

Related material:

There is additional material in the P&O collection.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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