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  Themes Homepage > Transporting the Biscuits
 
Factory
Transporting the Biscuits

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During the early years of the partnership, most of the biscuits were sold in the local area and therefore transportation of the biscuits was not necessary. However as the business expanded Huntley & Palmers’ biscuits began to be sold all over the country. The factory's location for proved first class in view of its proximity to the waterways, the railway and the main highway of the Kings Road.
 
Huntley & Palmers factory exterior, early twentieth century
Huntley & Palmers factory exterior, early twentieth century

Transport by Horse and Cart
By the 1850s transportation of goods by horse and cart had already become an outdated method for anything other than local traffic. Travel was limited to the distance the horse could go in one day and in winter this distance was compromised by the state of the roads.
 

Using the Waterways
The Kennet and Avon Canal, opened in 1810, transported Huntley & Palmers biscuits to Bath and Bristol and along the Bristol Channel. The canal system was used in preference to roads since it was much cheaper and there was less risk of damage by vibration. However it was a very slow method of transport compared to the new railways.
Entrance to Caversham Lock, around 1910
Entrance to Caversham Lock, around 1910
 
Loading bay, about 1934
Loading bay, about 1934

The Great British Railways
Although in the early 1840s the firm used the railways for only a small proportion of its freight traffic, George Palmer had the foresight – or luck – to purchase a factory which was situated close to the railway. The Great Western Railways line connected Reading not only with London and Bristol, but also with Taunton, Oxford and Gloucester.
 

Private Sidings
As the factory flourished much of its output was moved to rail and the company constructed its own private sidings within the factory. These sidings connected with three main railway lines to London. In order to work these, in 1875 the company purchased a pair of Black Hawthorn & Co of Gateshead, 20 ton locomotives.
Huntley & Palmers tank engine, 1890s
Huntley & Palmers tank engine, 1890s
 

The red brick factory and its tall chimneys became a landmark for passengers on the Great Western Railway. Such was the expansion in production at the factory that by the 1930’s, in order to accommodate the incoming and outgoing goods, the sidings had increased to around 7.5 miles in length. Traffic to and from the complex was running at 15,000 wagons per annum.
Huntley & Palmers sidings, 1899
Huntley & Palmers sidings, 1899
 
 
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  Themes Homepage > Transporting the Biscuits
 
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