William Thomas Orchard 1844 -1908
" I became the first postmaster at Freshwater Bay in 1870 on the recommendation of Mrs Julia Margaret Cameron, the pioneer photographer"
Myself with my wife, Mary and my grandaughter, Dot
A page from my childhood sketchbook
I am William Thomas Orchard, son of the founder of Orchard's Stores. I was born at the Swan Inn, Broadwey, near Weymouth in Dorset in 1844.
When I was 13 years old I moved to Thorley on the Isle of Wight when my father took the lease of Lee Farm. I then lived at Easton Farm, Freshwater Bay until 1865 when, aged 21, I joined the family grocery business at Alexandra House.
I became the first postmaster at Freshwater Bay in 1870 on the recommendation of Mrs Julia Margaret Cameron. See The Start of the Post Office.
My wife Mary first came to Freshwater Bay as lady's maid to Miss Annie Thackeray, later Lady Ritchie, daughter of the great novelist William Makepeace Thackeray. We have had nine children, though sadly three have died in infancy.
I am pleased to say our business has expanded to include not just groceries and the post office but also a sub branch of a bank and a house letting agency. We are also coal merchants and wine and spirit merchants.