On this day in auto history - July 9th

Fri 9th Jul 2021

It was on this day in 1908 that Rolls-Royce switched production from Manchester to its spiritual home of Derby when Lord Montagu officially opened its lavish new factory on Nightingale Road.

The 12-acre plant represented the cutting edge of technology at the time and was built so that Rolls-Royce could meet growing demand for its iconic Silver Ghost car, then dubbed “the greatest car in the world”.

During World War II, the plant played a major role in Britain’s wartime effort by producing Merlin aircraft engines which were used to power Hurricanes, Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers.

Such was its strategic importance, the building was specially-camouflaged to resemble a mundane residential district in an attempt to successfully ward off German bombers who were desperate to wipe out the factory.

The site expanded over the years to employ over 10,000 workers but in 2008 the doors finally closed on the century-old factory as production switched to brand new premises at nearby Sinfin.