Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Feb 2015

Sat 28 Feb 2015
Lancashire Local History Federation Spring Day School at Haigh Hall


Today was the Lancashire Local History Federation Spring Day School at Haigh Hall near Wigan.

A great day of fascinating presentations based on:

1215 and all that.
'Living under the law in medieval north-west'

Note that the Lancashire Local History Federation
Newsletters are now available on our website.
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Haigh Hall


Tue 10 Feb 2015
Dr Mark Turner – A Brief History of Rolls Royce

A much larger than average attendance welcomed Mark who said he was in his 39th year of employment at Rolls Royce. He is, in fact, an engineer, one of 15,000 at the company. Not only that, he is a senior engineer and just one of ten senior fellows there. In short he ‘fixes difficult problems and helps to drive technology forward’.
It all started for Rolls Royce when Charles Stuart Rolls, the man the money and a passion for cars joined up with Frederick Henry Royce. He was the engineer with his own company that produced cranes and dynamos.
The Midland Hotel, Manchester in 1904 was where the 2 men first met. It was 2 years later that the company was established and its first car, the Silver Ghost, was launched.

Tragically, Rolls died in 1910 in an aviation accident. He was the first Englishman to die in such a manner.
Royce, became seriously ill and move to Sussex. He, however, approved new designs all the way up to his death, aged 70, in 1933.
A lasting legacy of the company was that ‘whatever is done, however humble, is noble’.
Mark said his talk would concentrate on the aerospace side of the business and added the first aero engine was produced in 1914 and was named the kestrel. This was the first of a series of aero engines named after birds. It culminated in the famous merlin engine that powered the Spitfire.

Spirit of Ecstasy - The Flying Lady

It was at the outset of World War II the company’s association started with Barnoldswick. Engines produced there powered Spitfires, Hurricanes, the Avro Lancaster and the Halifax.
In 1943 the company took on the ongoing development of the jet engine. This resulted in a series of jet engines during the 1950s and 1960s that drove technology forward. The RB 211, that powered the Lockheed Tristar, was a technical success. But the underestimation of development costs led to the company going into receivership and nationalisation in 1971.
The car and aerospace parts of the business were separated in 1973. Success, though, continued with a the Trent family of jet engines, which help to power aircraft such as Boeing 747s, 787s and Airbus A350s.

The Parke family of Withnell Fold in their Rolls Royce.

The company’s presence continues at Barnoldswick but now it is involved in cutting edge hollow fan blades and electron beam welding.
Mark’s talk although technical in many respects was also compelling as the story included people and their characters, not just machines.
His presentation also had humour, not least his images of air travelling through a jet engine that graphically illustrated its 4 sequences, ‘suck’, ‘squeeze’, ‘bang’ and ‘blow’.
His technical knowledge was conveyed in such a way that he held everyone spellbound with his brief history of Rolls Royce.

Peter Robinson