Huntley and Palmers : A Christmas Selection

Huntley & Palmers started life in 1822 as a small bakery in London Street, sc-hpbiscuittinsReading. In 1846 the firm opened a large factory on Kings Road in Reading and by 1900 the business was the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world, employing over 5,000 people. The firm merged with other biscuit makers including Peek Frean to become Associated Biscuit Manufacturers Ltd in 1969. The Reading factory closed in 1972.

The archives cover the period 1837-1995. The collection consists of documentary materials from all areas of the business, including financial records, correspondence, sales records, promotional material and audiovisual items. The collection of tins dates from the 1880s and includes some particularly fine examples.

The University of Reading Special Collections Services are housed here in this Grade ll listed building which was originally known as East Thorpe, the home of Sir Alfred Palmer of the Huntley & Palmers biscuit company.

The three exhibition cases contain collages of colour photocopies of original Christmas scraps printed by the company and given away as promotional material. You will see that some of the images are not typical of what to our eyes represent Christmas, for example the children with eggs, the bouquets of spring flowers and the wonderful card of the mouse astride a lobster! All this material came from the Christmas seasons of 1892 and 1893.

The upright glass exhibition case contains a selection of original tins, the earliest of which date from the 1880s, which are part of the Huntley & Palmers collection. The case also contains some replica tins made by Morryce Maddams using photocopies of the original packaging.

The exhibition will be on display at the Special Collections Service from 25 November 2013  - 5 January 2014.

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