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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rolls-Royce car manufacturing firm-Welsh Connection!

Motoring and aviation pioneer Charles Stewart Rolls, who together with Fredrick Henry Royce co-founded the Rolls-Royce car manufacturing firm, was born on 27 August 1877 in Berkley Square, London, the third son of the 1st Baron Llangattock and Lady Llangattock. Despite his London birth, he retained a strong family connection with his ancestral home of The Hendre, near Monmouth.
Photograph of the Hon. C.S. Rolls' autocar with HRH The Duke of York, Lord Llangattock... [Rolls' father], Sir Charles Cust and the Hon. C.S. Rolls as occupants", taken by John Howard Preston. The photograph also shows 'The Hendre', the family's gothic mansion in Monmouthshire.
After graduating from Cambridge with a degree in engineering, he travelled to Paris aged 18 to buy his first car, a Peugeot Phaeton, which was one of the first three cars owned in Wales. He soon began his first car dealership, CS Rolls & Co in Fulham, and a year later had a fortuitous meeting with Henry Royce. Rolls was impressed by Royce’s two-cylinder Royce 10 and agreed to take all the cars he could make. Almost straight away the two men began to work together, Royce building and Rolls selling.
This is at a time when cars weren’t all that reliable. What they sought to do essentially, was to improve the reliability of cars so they would almost emulate a watch "You turn it on, it keeps ticking." They had a very meticulous attention to detail and their cars were designed for the richest people in the country. Rolls was the first person to take George V and Queen Mary, for a ride in a car in 1900. By 1906 they had formally bound their names as the new Rolls Royce company and launched their classic Silver Ghost.
Rolls was involved in forcing an increase in the national speed limit from 4 to 12 miles per hour and was also a founding member of the Royal Aero Club and enjoyed flying balloons and planes. In 1910, he became the first pilot to fly across the channel and back in a single journey, but tragically later that year, aged just 32, he was the first man to die in an aeronautical accident when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display in Bournemouth. The Rolls family, sadly died out in one generation, as his father died shortly after him, his older brother died in the Somme, he had another brother who had mental health problems and his sister never had any children.
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