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  Themes Homepage > Biscuits & Reading
 
Reading Town
Biscuits & Reading

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Huntley & Palmers relationship with Reading was clearly demonstrated in 1892 when another bakery was set-up and named ‘The Reading Biscuit Co’. Before this company had even made any biscuits, Huntley & Palmers sought an injunction to restrain the new firm from using Reading as a description of its biscuits. The Palmers collected a large number of affidavits from customers, including Harrods, who all submitted that Huntley & Palmers were known universally as Reading biscuits. The court granted Huntley & Palmers the injunction requested.
 
Advertisement, probably 1920s 'Celebrated Reading Biscuits' poster, mid nineteenth century Ceramic Sign, around 1850
Advertisement, probably 1920s 'Celebrated Reading Biscuits' poster, mid nineteenth century Ceramic Sign, around 1850
Visits to the Reading Factory
Famous visitors to the factory also helped to spread the name of Reading across the globe. From the early days of the factory visitors were received from all parts of the world. Empress Eugenie visited in 1885 and the Queen Mother was a visitor in 1955. After her visit the Queen Mother said that 'she had been most interested to see for herself the process which has given your [Huntley & Palmers] products such world-wide fame'.
Souvenir of Queen Mother's factory visit, 1955
Souvenir of Queen Mother's factory visit, 1955
 
The End of Biscuit Town
From the end of the First World War, Huntley & Palmers encountered difficulties in recruiting enough staff. Despite attempts to bring in workers from other parts of the UK the firm continued to suffer from a shortage of labour. On 24 November 1972 the Reading Chronicle reported that a decision had been taken to close Huntley & Palmers down. It stated ‘News of the run-down came as a blow….for Huntley & Palmers is synonymous with the town.’ Biscuit production finally ceased in Reading in 1976 and the office block was demolished in the 1990s.
 
Cake decorated like Huntley & Palmers new offices, 1937 Souvenir cup, late nineteenth century Cake shaped like Huntley & Palmers new offices, 1937
Cake decorated like Huntley & Palmers new offices, 1937 Souvenir cup, late nineteenth century Cake shaped like Huntley & Palmers new offices, 1937
The First Name in Biscuits
For over 150 years Huntley & Palmers sold thousands of tons of biscuits in Britain and across the globe. The tins, with their distinctive labels, had carried the town’s name to every part of the world and the town of Reading had become synonymous with biscuits.
For Every Mealtime There's a Biscuit, probably 1920s
For Every Mealtime There's a Biscuit, probably 1920s
 
Reading is no longer the ‘Biscuit Town’ and the factory which formed ‘a town within the town’ is gone. What remains are the memories of Reading people and the many gifts made by the Palmers to the town.
 
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