Search  
search tips advanced search
 
  Home     Themes     Timeline     Partners     Send an e-postcard  
 
   
People
 
Theme Sections
The Founding Fathers
The Early Years
Jobs in the Factory
Pay and Conditions
Rules and Regulations
Perks of the Job
The Demise of the First Generation
Strikes and Grievances
The War Years
1945 Onwards
 
 
 
More Themes
The Wider Picture
Biscuits
Biscuit Tins
Factory
Global
Interactives
People
Reading Town
Huntley & Palmers Timeline
  Themes Homepage > The Founding Fathers
 
People
The Founding Fathers

go to sectiongo to previous sectionprevious sectionnext sectiongo to next sectiongo to last section
From eight employees in 1841 to over 5,000 at the turn of the century, the firm of Huntley & Palmers touched the lives of many people. Whole families were employed in the factory which was the size of a small town. The Palmers were paternalistic employers providing a sick fund and recreation facilities. In return, those working in the factory had to abide by strict rules with the prospect of fines or even dismissal for misbehaviour. Prince of Wales visit, 1926
Prince of Wales visit, 1926
 
Joseph Huntley
Joseph Huntley was born in 1775 into a Gloucestershire Quaker family. His father was a headmaster while his mother, Hannah Huntley, baked biscuits in the school oven and sold them outside the school gates where the coaches stopped.
 
Thomas Huntley, around 1853
Thomas Huntley, around 1853
Joseph Huntley was 51 years old and a widower when he opened his bakery in London Street, Reading in 1822. His son, Thomas, having completed a two-year apprenticeship at a bakery in Uxbridge, made the biscuits whilst Joseph himself managed the business. Another of Joseph's sons - also, confusingly, called Joseph - owned an ironmongers shop on the opposite side of the street from the bakery.
 

Quaker Roots
As members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, the Huntleys believed in honesty, self-discipline and hard work. They used only the best ingredients and sold their cakes and biscuits at a fair price. The Huntley shop soon established a good name and in 1829 Thomas became a partner in his father’s firm. Joseph Huntley retired in 1838, leaving a vacancy for a new partner.
Thomas Huntley's writing box, 1822-1846
Thomas Huntley's writing box, 1822-1846
 
George Palmer
George Palmer was born in 1818, the eldest son of a West Country Quaker family. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to his uncle in Taunton to learn the trade of confectioner and miller. The Palmers already had connections to the Huntley family and in 1838 William Isaac, George’s younger brother, was apprenticed to Joseph Huntley jnr., the ironmonger. When George was 22 he moved to Reading with his mother and sister.
George Palmer, late nineteenth century
George Palmer, late nineteenth century
 
George was young, ambitious and had received a solid training in the confectionery trade. He also had the £550 required to buy a half-share of the London Street business. On 24 June 1841 Thomas Huntley and George Palmer became partners.
 
 
go to sectiongo to previous sectionprevious sectionnext sectiongo to next sectiongo to last section
 
  Themes Homepage > The Founding Fathers
 
    Working in partnership with New Opportunities Fund logo
  Copyright Info | Sitemap | About H&P Collection | Contact Us | Links Reading Museum Service logoSoPSE logo