Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,136 pages of information and 245,598 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


From Graces Guide
January 1920.
January 1920.
January 1920.
1922.Rear Axle of 20-H.P. Rolls Royce Chassis.
1922.20 H.P. Rolls Royce Engine.
1922.20 H.P.Rolls Royce Chassis.
September 1930.
June 1932.
June 1932.
Rolls-Royce 1935 20/25. Reg: CLE919.
September 1937.
June 1939.
April 1943.
April 1943.
March 1944.
May 1944.
August 1951.
January 1952.
June 1953.
1953. East Kilbride Works for Avon production.
1953. Engine test bed.
Sept 1953.
September 1954.
1959. Armoured Car on 'Rolls-Royce' Silver Ghost Chassis.
Electric motor made by Royce Ltd

of Cooke Street, Manchester, of Derby and later of Crewe, also Shrewsbury, manufactured cars and aero-engines. For successor companies see Rolls-Royce Motors and Rolls-Royce plc.

See also -

1905 November: At the 1905 Motor Show (Olympia) C. S. Rolls and Co exhibited the new all-British Rolls-Royce Motor Car with a 10-hp 7-seater £1,000 Pullman limousine and a 15-hp 3-cylinder 'Silent Laudaulette'. [1]

1906 March 15th. The company was registered to take over the manufacture of the Rolls-Royce motor car from Royce Ltd [2] including the Cooke Street works.

1906 December. New shares issued of £200,000 to increase the capital with a view of enlarging the works, and to acquire the business of C. S. Rolls and Co. [3] [4] Directors:

1908 July 9th. The company moved from Manchester to a new factory at Nightingale Road, Derby[5] designed by Royce. The factory was built by Andrew Handyside and Co

1910 Claremont is Chairman, Briggs and Scott are re-elected as directors. [6]

1910 April. C. S. Rolls resigned his position of Technical Managing Director of Rolls-Royce in order to concentrate on his aviation interests[7]; he became an adviser to Rolls-Royce

1910 After the death of Rolls in a flying accident, his shares were acquired by the future Lord Beaverbrook, who held them for a few years but did not gain control of.the company[8]

1911 Formed Automobiles Rolls-Royce (France) Limited. [9]

WWI The company was concerned that the outbreak of war would curtail demand for their luxury automobiles but they did not plan to make aero-engines. However, after a request from the Royal Aircraft Factory, they did tender to build some Renault aero-engines. Unimpressed by the design of these engines, Royce was inspired to design his own aero-engine, which became the Eagle, a V12 engine that went on to be used in a number of military aircraft.

In order to keep up with demand once the Eagle was established, the War Office tried to persuade the company to allow other UK manufacturers to contribute production resources but the company resisted this. Instead there was a big expansion of the Derby factory but Brazil, Straker and Co were also allowed to build Eagles and the smaller Falcon engine; Brazils also built the 6-cylinder variant, the Hawk.

1915 The Eagle was used first in the Handley Page O/100 bomber, and then, in 1916, in the Curtiss H.12 flying boat, the F.E.2d fighter and the Airco DH4 light bomber.

c1918 Arthur Wormald is MD of the Derby works. A. J. Rowledge is Chief Assistant Engineer.

At some point established the first test-bed in the Sinfin Lane area of the Derby site.

1919 Established a factory in America

1919 The design team was headed by Timothy B. Barrington with A. G. Elliott and Bernard Day assisting. R. C. Hall looked after metellurgy.

1921 The company opened a second factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1926 Mr Basil Johnson was appointed managing director in place of the late Claude Johnson.[10]

1931 Acquired Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd through the British Equitable Central Trust.

1933 Manufacturers of aero engines. Works: Nightingale Lane, Derby. Head Office: 14-15 Conduit Street, London W.1.

1934 See Rolls-Royce: 1934 Review

WWII Opened a new factory at Hillington near Glasgow to make components for aero-engines and eventually complete engines, supplementing production at Derby and Crewe.

As well as producing key aero-engines such as the Merlin, Rolls-Royce took over production of the Whittle jet engine from Rover.

1951 Started to produce diesel engines at Derby - see Rolls-Royce: Diesel Engines

1953 Completion of the East Kilbride factory.

1956 Acquired Sentinel for its factory and production capacity[11]

1961 Parent of 13 subsidiaries. Group employs 44,000 persons. Manufacturers of motor car, aero engines, petrol and oil engines, rocket motors and nuclear propulsion. Specialists in designing, developing and procuring of nuclear compartments for naval vessels. [12]

1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement. [13]

1971 Financial problems caused largely by development of the new RB 211 turbofan engine led — after several cash subsidies — to the company being nationalised by the Heath government in 1971. (Delay in production of the RB211 engine has been blamed for the failure of the technically advanced Lockheed TriStar, which was beaten to launch by its chief competitor, the Douglas DC-10.)

1971 The receiver created a new company, Rolls-Royce Motors, to contain the profitable parts of the company including the car manufacturing division, the marine and industrial diesel engines, military vehicle operations and rights to the Wankel engine. The new company included the coach building businesses of H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward and Bentley Motors (1931)[14]. The gas turbine businesses were put into a new company Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd[15]

1972 A new company, Bristol Composite Materials, was established to acquire Rolls Royce (Composite Materials) and the carbon-fibre producer Hyfil from the receiver[16]

1973 Having failed to attract sufficiently high offers in the sale by tender, the automobile business was spun off as a public company, Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd[17]. The main business of aircraft and marine engines remained in public ownership until 1987, when it was privatised as Rolls-Royce plc, one of many privatisations of the Thatcher government.

See the successor companies for later history of Rolls-Royce


  • Derby
  • Crewe
  • Hillington
  • East Kilbride
  • Manchester
  • London, Conduit Street
  • Hucknall, Nottingham
  • West Wittering
  • Clan Foundry, Belper
  • Barnoldswick

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Why Not? The Story of Charles Stewart Rolls by David Baines. Published 2007. ISBN 13 978-1-85443-224-7
  2. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  3. The Times, Monday, Dec 17, 1906
  4. The Early History of Motoring by Claude Johnson
  5. The Autocar 1908/07/18
  6. The Times, Saturday, Jan 15, 1910
  7. The Times, Jul 13, 1910
  8. Wikipedia
  9. The Times, Wednesday, May 31, 1911
  10. The Engineer 1926/04/30
  11. The Times, Jun 17, 1957
  12. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  13. The Engineer of 26th April 1968 p650
  14. The Times, Mar 23, 1971
  15. The Times, May 22, 1971
  16. The Times, Sep 16, 1972
  17. The Times, May 04, 1973