This 1870s photograph from G.R. Lambert & Co. shows a view of Orchard Road. This road began as a country lane lined with bamboo hedge and shrubbery. It is believed that the road got its name from the nutmeg, pepper and fruit orchards that used to lie on both sides of the road.
G.R. Lambert & Co. opened for business in 1867 in Singapore with a shop located at 1 High Street. Responsible for the most comprehensive photographic documentation of the topography and peoples of Southeast Asia, nothing more was heard or known about the firm nor the photographer, G.R. Lambert, until 10 years later.
Gustave Richard Lambert in 1877 occupied Schleesselman's studio at 30 Orchard Road. Returning from Siam (Thailand) where he had taken over from Henry Schuren as the official photographer to King Chulalongkorn, he reopened his own Orchard Road studio in 1880. Lambert departed Singapore around 1886, leaving the business in the hands of Alexander Koch. Koch expanded the business such that, from the mid-1890s to the 1900s, the company had two studios: one was located in town at Gresham House, Battery Road, and one was situated in the suburban area of Orchard. During its heyday, the company also maintained regional branch studios in Deli (Sumatra), Kuala Lumpur (FMS) and Bangkok (Siam). Besides being the official photographer for King Chulalongkorn, G.R. Lambert & Co. was also the official photographer to the Sultan of Johor, Abu Bakar. The rise of the postcard trade (the first local issue of picture postcards in Singapore was in 1897) was an appealing development that could not be ignored by commercial photographers such as G.R. Lambert & Co., and by the end of 1910, the firm was offering a choice of 250 different views, with a turnover of 250,000 cards annually.