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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Centenary party for status symbol
The very first Rolls Royce on display in Manchester
The world's most famous car was born in Manchester
The 100th birthday of one of the UK's most renowned companies was celebrated on Tuesday.

The centenary of Rolls-Royce took place at the Midland Hotel, the very spot in Manchester where the firm was founded.

Charles Rolls met Henry Royce at the hotel on 4 May 1904 to start the world famous company.

Outside the hotel two of the firm's classic cars a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Silver Ghost went on display along with a Rolls-Royce aero engine.

Hulme factory

The celebrations also included planting four trees on the company's original site in Hulme, Manchester.

Among the guests were Dr Michael Pritchard, the great-grandson of Henry Edmunds who introduced Rolls to Royce.

An Avro Lancaster aircraft also carried out an aerial salute..

A number of Rolls-Royce cars currently taking part in a centenary world tour arrived in Manchester to join in the celebrations.

Charles Rolls, an aristocrat, was a car and plane enthusiast who died at the age of 32 when he crashed while taking part in an airshow in Bournemouth.

Henry Royce, from a poorer family, became one of the world's great engineers and died aged 70 in 1933.

The empire they created later split into separate companies - one dealing with cars and the other concentrating on aero engine, industrial and marine work.

The BBC's Brian Milligan
"One hundred years since it started, there's little to suggest its reputation has been diminished"

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