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  Themes Homepage > The World's First Name in Biscuits
 
Global
The World's First Name in Biscuits

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By 1900 Huntley & Palmers were the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world, exporting to Africa, the Americas and the Far East. Their biscuits were purchased by royalty across the globe from Britain to Siam and they were an essential food item for explorers, including Scott of the Antarctic. The firm's name even travelled along trade routes ahead of western expeditions. In 1904 the first Europeans to visit the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet were welcomed with Huntley & Palmers biscuits.
 
Advertising leaflet, 1890s Biscuits in the Congo, around 1890 Selling Huntley & Palmers biscuits in Rangoon, 1950
Advertising leaflet, 1890s Biscuits in the Congo, around 1890 Selling Huntley & Palmers biscuits in Rangoon, 1950
The Start of the Export Trade
When George Palmer joined the partnership in the 1840s other businesses were already exporting British foods. This included Banbury cakes which were sent in wooden boxes to India, Australia and the Americas. However Huntley & Palmers had one major advantage over other food suppliers - their tins. In these tins their biscuits could stay fresh for years as they travelled across the world.
Weighing Packing Cases, 1950s
Weighing Packing Cases, 1950s
 
Export price list, 1865
Export price list, 1865
First Continental Representative
Although Huntley & Palmers had been selling biscuits abroad prior to 1865, it was the appointment of a continental sales representative that led to a boom in their overseas sales. In 1865 Joseph Leete proposed to Samuel Palmer that he should seek orders for Huntley & Palmers biscuits in Europe. He set to work and in his first full year, 1866, brought over £10,000 worth of business to the firm.
 
In 1867 he secured Royal Warrants of Appointment from Leopold II of Belgium and Napoleon III of France. Joseph Leete's territory eventually stretched as far as Russia, Turkey and the north coast of Africa. The rest of the world, not within the remit of Joseph Leete, was covered by the Export department. However it took until 1888 before Huntley & Palmers established their first representative in North America. Nevertheless, by the turn of the century, the firm had resident representatives in North and South America, South Africa, India, China and Japan.
 
 
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