The first Huntley & Palmer factory was built by the Kennet and Avon Canal, and canal boats were used to transport the biscuits to Bath and Bristol. A later factory was sited near the Great Western Railway, and the company built its own sidings to link to the railway.factory workforce was mostly men, women and small boys.
Factory Inspector Robert Baker (Reports, 31 Oct 1869), said that he had often heard complaints from Reading people that the Huntley & Palmer factory was not yet covered by the factory acts, because they claimed that ‘boys have often been employed for 20 hours at a stretch, and have been carried out, owing to the heat’. Baker had not been able to visit the factory, as it was outside his remit. Joseph Huntley and George Palmer were Quakers, however, and were said to look after their workforce. Baker commented: ‘I cannot vouch for the truth of these statements, and I should think that Messrs. Palmer treat their staff with consideration’.