The History Behind The Iconic Rolls-Royce



Rolls-Royce cars have been acknowledged as ‘The Pride of Britain, envy of the world’. The cars are associated with luxury, glamour and opulence and have become an iconic symbol of British manufacture and something that us Brits feel very nostalgic about.

It all started with two British men, Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce and a famous dinner on the 4th May 1907 at Midland Hotel in Manchester, set up by a mutual friend Henry Edmunds. From that day on a legendary partnership was created and saw the start of the Rolls-Royce empire.

Charles Stewart Rolls

Charles Stewart Rolls, born 27th August 1877, studied Mechanical engineering at Cambridge. He was the first undergraduate to own a car and soon began racing. To fund this passion he set up a car dealership which sold mostly foreign vehicles. Nevertheless Rolls pursuit was to find a supplier of a reliable English car which led to his introduction to Henry Royce.

Another hobby and passion of Charles Rolls’ was flying and he became the first aviator to complete a double crossing across the English Channel. Unfortunately, not so long after the formation of Rolls Royce Limited, Charles was killed in an accident at an air show in July 1910, aged just 32. This tragedy happened when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display. Rolls was the first Briton to be killed in an aeronautical accident with a powered aircraft.

A statue in his memory, in which he is holding a biplane model, was placed in High court square, Monmouth.

Sir Frederick Henry Royce

Born 27th March 1863, Sir Frederick Henry Royce was a man known for his attention to detail and need for perfection. His first registered patent was the bayonet lamp socket in 1887. However, Royce was dissatisfied and decided to turn his attention towards building cars. By 1903 he had designed and built his own engine and in 1904 his first prototype hit the road.

The Silver Ghost, launched in 1907, was said to be a car of smoothness and €the best car in the world€.

Henry Royce was known not to eat properly because he always worked so hard which resulted him in being really ill on two occasions. He died at his house in West Wittering on the 22nd April 1933 at the age of 70. Not long before his death Rolls-Royce limited had bought out W.O Bentley in 1931. A new design was taken down to Royce’s home to get his approval. He stated that a fast car needed a stiffness of the spring. The night before he died he sat up in his bed and drew a sketch on the back of an envelope which he handed to his housekeeper to give to the €boys€ at the factory. This shows that his eye for excellence stayed with him all the way up to his death.

Rolls-Royce cars are undoubtedly the pinnacle of luxury.

About the Author

Robert Erving

Recommended for you