BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 10:13 GMT
Best of British business: Rolls and Royce

BBC News Online is inviting readers to vote for the greatest British business figures. This is the case for Charles Rolls and Henry Royce.
To many it has come to embody the very essence of luxury - not just the best of Britain but the best of the world.

Charles Rolls and Henry Royce
The story of the two men who created what was first a car company but is now also a global aerospace and defence group, is a classic tale of dogged determination and triumph over adversity.

Charles Rolls was no poverty-stricken teenager though.

The son of a wealthy peer he could have had a carefree life. Instead he chose to indulge his passion for motor cars by selling them.

Even though drivers at the time had to be preceded by a man carrying a red warning flag he realized that cars were the future.

Crucial decision

With no British manufacturers, he had to import them - but increased competition eventually caused his profits to collapse.

Instead of walking away, he made the crucial decision that Britain could build a world-beating car - and that led to his fateful meeting with the man who would help him realise his dream.

Henry Royce had little in common with the aristocratic Rolls.

The son of a Lincolnshire farmer, he had a desperate childhood and poor education. But he still managed to find time during a string of lowly jobs, to learn engineering at night school and use his skills to establish a successful business.

He too was convinced that cars were the future and like Rolls was absolutely obsessive about improving their design.

Still revered

When the two finally met in 1904, the brilliant salesman and aviator Rolls and the gifted engineer Royce quickly saw in each other the skills to turn their vision into a reality.

Within two years they had produced the forerunner of the cars you see today, the legendary Silver Ghost, and laid the foundations for a business, which though much changed today, is still revered around the world almost a century later.

That's why I believe Charles Rolls and Henry Royce deserve a place at the top of the list of great British business figures.


Vote

Candidates
Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes