The history of Huntley & Palmers

Huntley & Palmers started life in 1822 as a small bakery on London Street, Reading. In 1846, the firm opened a large factory on Reading's Kings Road. By 1900, it was the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world, employing over 5,000 people. Biscuit production at Reading finally ended in 1976.

In the pages below, find out how Reading became known as the 'Biscuit Town' by exploring the history of Huntley & Palmers and the Huntley & Palmers Collection held and displayed at Reading Museum.

About these pages

Historically, we kept our information about Huntley & Palmers' history on a separate, purpose-built website created in 2003. However, as part of Biscuit Town 200 in 2022, when we celebrated 200 years since Joseph Huntley opened his first baker’s shop at London Street, we took the opportunity to update the pages and incorporate them here on the main Reading Museum website.

We hope you enjoy learning about the fascinating history of Huntley & Palmers and the pivotal role the company played in establishing modern Reading.