Reading, 'Bats, balls and biscuits' A brief history of cricket at the (Huntley and Palmers) Reading

Bats, balls and biscuits: a brief history of cricket at the Reading biscuit factory.Martin Bishop (author, 2008) A5, 160pp

This interesting and lavishly illustrated book outlines the growth of Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory in Reading from 1822 to the 1970s, when it ceased production. By 1900 it was the largest employer in Reading, employing 10 per cent of the local population. It attracted visits from both Princes of Wales (Edward VII and his grandson, Edward VIII) in 1882 and 1926 respectively, by which time it had become the largest biscuit factory in the world. From the 1850s excursions were organised, and in 1855 included the first cricket match. Cricket matches remained the highlight of these outings. The major part of the book traces the growth of the Reading Factory Cricket Club, which first played in Kings Meadow, and then in the Kensington Road ground in west Reading. In 1983 it lost the use of Kensington Road but, because two of its members were also belonged to Purley Cricket Club, they used their cricket ground, and soon a merger was agreed between the two clubs, the result of which continues to play at Purley-on-Thames.

Jean Debney

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