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Rolls-Royce Ltd factory, Nightingale Road, Osmaston, Derby, c 1913
Scarratt, F W
About this image
Rolls-Royce Ltd's motor car works on Nightingale Road looking north with the Commercial Block most prominent. This was then very new, having been completed in 1912 to a plan prepared by Henry Royce himself, who keen that staff should not waste time watching the world go by, had the windows positioned at a height that made this difficult.
The factory itself had opened on 9 July 1908. Covering a 12-acre site initially, the works later expanded substantially, also taking in some of the vacant land seen here on the east side of the road, although for this shot the photographer appears to be standing on the site of what would become Nightingale Infants and Junior Schools.
The firm's name is displayed prominently on the frontage of the factory and reads 'ROLLS-ROYCE LIMITED MOTOR CAR MANUFACTURERS ROLLS ROYCE LIMITED' - the central portion of this inscription disappeared when a new, more imposing, main entrance (the so-called Marble Hall) was created in 1938. From 1915 aero engines were also manufactured and in due course these became the mainstay of Rolls-Royce's production in Derby with car manufacture being moved to Crewe in 1946.
The original Rolls-Royce works eventually became outmoded and was closed in 2008, production being transferred to nearby Sinfin. The factory was then demolished but the Commercial Block survived, having been Listed Grade II in 2009.
This photo was taken by Derby-based postcard producer F W Scarratt and was number 820 in his series. It was produced as part of a commission received from Beatrice A Sidley who ran St Dunstan's Post Office at 468 Osmaston Road; the original negative envelope is inscribed '5 negs of Rolls Royce to choose from' (these comprise DCHQ010164-DCHQ010168 inclusive). See DRBY002371 for the published postcard version of this image.