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The Famous Meeting

The Hon C. S. Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce

4th May 1904

The Midland Hotel

On this day the
Hon Charles Stewart Rolls
Frederick Henry Royce
from which
Rolls-Royce Ltd
was formed

Henry Edmunds account of the train journey to Manchester
Charles Rolls

"Mr. Rolls accompanied me to Manchester, to which I was
then a frequent visitor, as I had to look after several business concerns there and
held a traders ticket between London and Manchester.

I well remember the conversation I had in the Dining - Car of the train
with Mr. Rolls, who said it was his ambition to have a motor car
connected with his name,so that in the future it may be a household word,
just as much as 'Broadwood' or 'Steinway' in connection with pianos; or
'Chubbs' in connection with safes.I am sure neither of us
at the time could forsee the wonderful development of the car which
resulted from my introduction of these two gentlemen to each other.

Henry Edmunds was to be "umpire" at the meeting between Rolls and Royce

Letter to Edmunds dated 8th August 1904 from Royce

" Dear Mr Edmunds,

with reference to Mr Rolls taking our manufactures, he has at present in his possession an agreement we have got out on these lines, and with reference to his suggestion that you should be named umpire, I should be most happy to agree to this, as I know your anxiety would be for everything to be quite fair on each side. I must thank you for your introduction, which is promising well, and I think we ought to be of great service to each other.
Yours faithfully


Rolls and Royce being introduced by Henry Edmunds
from a painting by Ray Tootal

Henry Edmunds continues the story of the meeting

" I think both took to each other at first sight and they eagerly discussed
the prospects and requirements of the automobile industry which was still
in its early infancy.
Mr. Rolls then went to see for himself the Royce car; and after considerable
discussions and negotiations on both sides it was decided to form a seperate
concern in which the name of Rolls was conjoined with that of Royce
forming the compound which is held in the highest regard to-day.
Eventually they opened their works at Derby"

" I recollect the gathering there at the lunch that was given, where there were
many complimentary and prophetic speeches and all expressed their hopes
and good wishes for the new organisation; and I had the flattering experience
of being alluded to as
'The Godfather of the Rolls-Royce Company.'
My interest however, did not extend any further beyond the fact that
as a shareholder of Royce, Ltd., I had received some slight benefit
from the formation of the new concern."

Charles Rolls himself wrote of the famous meeting in these terms

"...You may ask yourselves how it was that I came to be associated with
Mr. Royce and Mr. Royce with me.
Well for a considerable number of years I had been actively engaged in the
sale of foreign cars, and the reason for this was that I wanted to be able to
recommend and sell the best cars in the world, irrespective of origin,
and the cars I sold were, I believe, the best that could be got at that time,
but somehow I always had the feeling that I should prefer to be selling
English, instead of foreign goods. In addition I could distinctly notice a growing
desire on the part of my clients to purchase English made cars; yet I was
disinclined to embark on a factory and manufacture myself, firstly on account
of my own incompetence and inexperience in such matters, and secondly
on account of the enormous risks involved, and at the same time I could
not come across any English-made car that I really liked. Although I had
numerous offers of sole concessions and sole agencies and so forth,
on terms which represented a far higher tare than I was working for
with my foreign cars, yet the majority of British manufacturers at that
time all seemed to suffer from the same thing,
what I might call sheer pigheadedness,
that is to say, they had a deep rooted objection to copying the foreigner who
had had many years' more experience.
Eventually, however, I was fortunate enough to make the aquaintance of
Mr. Royce,
and in him I found the man I had been looking for for years.

Sculpture in the entrance to The Midland Hotel
Commemorating one of the most legendary meetings of all time

Sign in the Midland directing guests to
C. S. Rolls room & the Henry Royce room

The Hon C. S. Rolls Room

The Sir Henry Royce Room

"If you are going to The Midland for tea, don't forget your gloves."

'that is what my mother said as I was leaving with my uncle for
Tea at The Midland, which was a very special place
in the eyes of most Mancunians'
Barbara Frost - Midland Hotel Historian

Even after a refurbishment in 1987,
The Midland still retains its
Edwardian splendour.
The service is second to none and  the sort one would expect of
those bygone days.
A stay there is recommended - I quite often stay there myself.

You can contact
The Midland at

Crowne Plaza Manchester - The Midland
Peter Street
M60 2DS

Tel: + 44 (0) 161 236 3333
Fax: + 44 (0) 161 932 4100

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