search tips advanced search
  Home     Themes     Timeline     Partners     Send an e-postcard  
About H&P Collection
The Huntley & Palmers Collection is the archive that was formed by the famous Reading biscuit company during its 150 year history. The collection shows the development of the company and the impact it had on Reading and its people.

In 1974 the Huntley & Palmers Collection was deposited with Reading Museum Service and Reading University Library. In 1989 Nabisco Ltd, the then owners of the Huntley & Palmers brand, donated the collection to the Museum and the University.

The Museum material consists of nearly 7,000 items including biscuit tins, photographs, oral histories, films and advertising ephemera dating from 1822 to the 1980s. The University Library holds the documentary materials, mostly business records, relating to all aspects of the firm. Both organisations also hold material from Peek Frean and Jacobs biscuit companies with whom Huntley & Palmers merged to form Associated Biscuits Ltd in 1969.

The Huntley & Palmers Gallery at the Museum of Reading
A unique Huntley & Palmers gallery was created in 2000 when a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund enabled the extensive refurbishment of the Museum of Reading. The gallery tells the story of the great biscuit firm using over 600 objects.


In the gallery you can see a fascinating selection of items featured on this website, including Oscar Wilde's signature in the visitor book and one of Captain Scott's Antarctic biscuits. For biscuit tin enthusiasts nearly 300 tins are on display in the gallery including the first printed biscuit tin from 1868. In addition, rare archive footage provides an insight into the working life of biscuit factory employees during the 1950s.

Visit the Museum of Reading website for opening times and further information:

Sources of Information
The collection was studied in the early 1970s by T.A.B.Corley, Senior Lecturer of Economics at the University of Reading, resulting in the publication of:

'Quaker Enterprise in Biscuits (Huntley & Palmers of Reading 1822-1972)', Hutchinson & Co Ltd (1972)

Corley's book is the authoritative account of the company's history and has been a major source of information during the development of the website.

Additional sources on Huntley & Palmers include:

Clark, Hyla M., 'The Tin Can Book, The Can as Collectible Art, Advertising Art & High Art', Tree Communications (1977)

Dolphin, Tracy, 'Biscuit Tins', Shire Publications Ltd (1999)

Franklin, M.J., 'British Biscuit Tins', Victoria & Albert Museum (1984)

Franklin, M.J., 'British Biscuit Tins 1868-1939, An Aspect of Decorative Packaging', New Cavendish Books (1979).

Griffith, David, 'Decorative Printed Tins, The Golden Age of Tin Packaging', Studio Vista (1979)

Hornsby, Peter R.G., 'Decorated Biscuit Tins', Schiffer Publishing Ltd (1984)

Phillips, Daphne, 'The Story of Reading', Countryside Books (1980) Rev.Ed. 1990

Pitman, S.H., 'Huntley, Boorne & Stevens, 1832-1985', Trustees of the Stevens Benevolent Fund (1993)
    Working in partnership with New Opportunities Fund logo
  Copyright Info | Sitemap | About H&P Collection | Contact Us | Links Reading Museum Service logoSoPSE logo