Search  
search tips advanced search
 
  Home     Themes     Timeline     Partners     Send an e-postcard  
 
   
Factory
 
Theme Sections
Humble Beginnings
Transporting the Biscuits
The Mechanical Biscuit
Expansion
Factory Visits
Early Twentieth Century
1930 to 1960
Farewell Reading
 
 
 
More Themes
The Wider Picture
Biscuits
Biscuit Tins
Factory
Global
Interactives
People
Reading Town
Huntley & Palmers Timeline
  Themes Homepage > Factory Visits
 
Factory
Factory Visits

go to first sectiongo to previous sectionprevious sectionnext sectiongo to next sectiongo to last section
By 1860 Huntley & Palmers was already the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world and the importance of the firm to the British Empire was reflected in the numerous visits made to the factory by members of the Royal Family and other famous people.
 
Kings & Princes
The first reported Royal visit to the Reading factory was in 1882 when the Illustrated London News had a full-page article on the visit of the Prince of Wales. In 1918, when King George V and Queen Mary visited the factory, the employees were informed that they would receive an extra weeks pay in honour of their visit.
Visit of King George V and Queen Mary, 1918
Visit of King George V and Queen Mary, 1918
 
Emir of Katsina's grandsons, 1933
Emir of Katsina's grandsons, 1933
Foreign Visitors
Even foreign royalty came to see the firm including the Emir of Katsina in 1933. Unfortunately the Emir's party could not sample the delicious products in the factory as their religion precluded them from eating in public.
The visits by Royalty continued well into the twentieth century and in 1955 the Queen Mother’s visit was commemorated in a booklet produced by the firm.
 
Oscar Wilde
On the left-hand page of this factory visitors' book is the signature of Oscar Wilde, the poet and playwright, who visited the factory on 22 September 1892. The Wildes were family friends of Walter and Jean Palmer. Only three years later Oscar Wilde returned to Reading as a prisoner at the gaol. This being situated only yards from the factory was called the ‘biscuit factory’ by inmates.
Factory Visitors Book, 1892
Factory Visitors Book, 1892
 
The guides at Huntley & Palmers Reading Factory, 1957
The guides at Huntley & Palmers Reading Factory, 1957

Factory guides
The factory was also a popular place to visit for more humbler visitors including school trips. Each child was given a paper bag and at every machine they were given a biscuit. From 1919 factory tours were organised and a group of factory guides were employed to show the visitors around the site. To see a video clip of the guides showing visitors around the factory, visit the interactives theme.
 

The guides were not allowed to accept tips from any visitors. This notice hung in the factory states:
'Visitors are requested not to offer gratuities to any employee of the Company. The Benevolent Fund offers a more satisfactory medium for those who desire to show any slight recognition of services rendered.'
Factory Notice for Visitors, date unknown
Factory Notice for Visitors, date unknown
 
 
go to first sectiongo to previous sectionprevious sectionnext sectiongo to next sectiongo to last section
 
  Themes Homepage > Factory Visits
 
    Working in partnership with New Opportunities Fund logo
  Copyright Info | Sitemap | About H&P Collection | Contact Us | Links Reading Museum Service logoSoPSE logo