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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 to the right of the tree. 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 the area in the foreground was in due course used to build Nightingale Infants and Junior Schools.
The firm's name is displayed prominently. It appears in monogram form on the chimney, more fully on the water tower, and comprehensively on the frontage of the Commercial Block where it reads 'ROLLS-ROYCE LIMITED MOTOR CAR MANUFACTURERS ROLLS ROYCE LIMITED'. Subsequently, the central portion of this latter 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. Eventually, the original Rolls-Royce works became outmoded and was closed in 2008, production being transferred to nearby Sinfin. The 1908 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 821 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).