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  Themes Homepage > Expansion
 
Factory
Expansion

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The redevelopment of the factory began less than three years after its purchase when a new counting-house and warehouses were added onto the original silk mill. However George Palmer faced a major hurdle in his plans for expansion of the site.

An Island Site
The factory was positioned on an island site between the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon canal. To the south and west of the factory was the town of Reading and to the east was the meeting point of the canal and river. The only possible direction for expansion, without having to move the site altogether, was north.
 
The Biscuit Factory, about 1889
The Biscuit Factory, about 1889

In 1868 George Palmer acquired the land north of the factory on the other side of the river. Four years later Huntley & Palmers purchased the Cannon brewery factory and the last piece of the jigsaw fell into place. In November 1873 the new buildings were declared open for business.
 
Bridges & Tramlines
As the new factory spread across the river, many bridges were constructed to enable goods to move around the factory. Goods were transported using small tram-trucks and by 1900 there were about 12 miles of narrow gauge tramlines within the works.
The factory trolley system, 1937
The factory trolley system, 1937
 
Visitors with locomotive, 1930s
Visitors with locomotive, 1930s

The Bagnall Fireless Locomotives
Huntley & Palmers locomotives also had to work within the warehouses. Conventional locomotives were unsuitable because of fumes and danger of fire from sparks so the firm purchased special locomotives which were filled with high pressure steam from a stationary boiler. Each filling took 15 mins and gave 2 hours running time.
 
Departments of the Factory
By 1898 there were five manufacturing units and many products, such as sugar wafers, had their own factory.
 
Cake factory, around 1920 Memories of the Chocolate Department, 1996 Flour store, 1920s
Cake factory, around 1920 Memories of the Chocolate Department, 1996 Flour store, 1920s

The Laboratory
In addition to the manufacturing departments, Huntley & Palmers also had laboratories to test the ingredients coming in from all over the world. Material samples were sent to the laboratory for chemical analysis to show the required purity and to examine their behaviour in manufacturing processes.
Main Laboratory in factory, 1950s
Main Laboratory in factory, 1950s
 
Office at Huntley & Palmers, around 1930
Office at Huntley & Palmers, around 1930

The Office
As with any large firm, in addition to those employed in the manufacturing, there was a large staff of clerks who conducted the extensive London, continental and foreign business of the firm.
 
 
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  Themes Homepage > Expansion
 
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