Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 138,218 pages of information and 223,604 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1797 Formation of James Thomson and Co as a shipbroking company in 1797. The firm went on to be shipowners, mainly operating sailing ships to Australia.
The company was operating a small fleet of sailing ships by the early 19th century, and by the middle of the century they were sailing on routes all over the world.
1817 Advert for the ship Layton with Commander Thomas Taylor to Madras and Bengal. Apply to James Thomson of 6 Billiter Court. 
1828 James Anderson joined James Thomson and Co.
1844 James Thomson and Co were advertising ships to Ascencion 
1854 James's nephew James George Anderson joined the firm
By 1863 the company had been restyled Anderson, Thompson and Co of Biliter Court.  with James Anderson and his nephew James G K Anderson as partners.
1866 The inauguration of a liner service to Australia with the packet Orient saw the company trade as The Orient Line of Packets, regularly shortened to Orient Line.