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Rolls-Royce Ltd factory, Nightingale Road, Osmaston, Derby, c 1911
Scarratt, F W
About this image
Rolls-Royce Ltd's motor car works on Nightingale Road looking north and showing Number One Gate and the works institute building.
The factory had opened on 9 July 1908. Covering a 12-acre site initially, it later expanded substantially and very shortly the area behind the railings on the left here would be occupied by the Commercial Block, a lengthy range of offices fronting onto Nightingale Road. These were completed in 1912.
Both motor vehicles visible in this view appear to be products of the factory and contrast with the photographer's bicycle leaning against the railings. Also worthy of note is the Post Office letter box to the right of the gate. This is a wall type box and has been set into a large and squat brick pillar with a domed top, perhaps an indication of the volume of post the new factory was expected to generate.
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. Eventually the original Rolls-Royce works became outmoded and after a century of operation it was closed in 2008, production being transferred to nearby Sinfin. The factory was then demolished but the Commercial Block (and the post box) survived, the former having been Listed Grade II in 2009.
This photo was taken by Derby-based postcard producer F W Scarratt and was number 427 in his series. It was submitted 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).