Huntley & Palmers Collection
Huntley & Palmers biscuit catalogue
Huntley & Palmers biscuits are one of the 'three Bs’ for which Reading was famous, the others being beer from Simond's brewery and bulbs from Sutton's Seeds. The Museum's collection has nearly 7000 items including biscuit tins, photographs, oral histories, films and advertising ephemera dating from 1822 to the 1980s, and continues to collect material.
Huntley & Palmers started life in 1822 as a small bakery founded by Thomas Huntley in London Street. George Palmer, who was a distant Quaker cousin, entered into partnership with Thomas Huntley in 1841. They renamed the company Huntley & Palmer. George was ambitious and in 1846 he opened a large factory on Kings Road.
With the Palmer family in control, Huntley & Palmers became the world's largest biscuit manufacturer by 1900. The company employed over 5,000 people. As a result Reading became known as the 'biscuit town' - even the town's football club was nicknamed the 'biscuit men'. The factory remained a major employer in Reading until 1976 when production moved to Liverpool.
The company was also famous for its innovative and decorative biscuit tins, made in Reading by its sister company Huntley, Boorne & Stevens. In 1911 they even supplied tinned biscuits to Captain Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic.
You can find out more by visiting our Huntley & Palmers Collection website or by visiting the Huntley & Palmers Gallery at Reading Museum. The museum shop sells a selection of H&P branded biscuits.
Date updated: 15 Feb 2014
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The Huntley & Palmers Collection website