News & Events

ROLLS-ROYCE Marks Founder’s Birthday With London Pilgrimage

  • Rolls-Royce marks the 144 th birthday of co-founder The Hon Charles Stewart Rolls on
  • The marque celebrates by taking Ghost on a pilgrimage around London, stopping off at places connected with Rolls’ life and career
  • Tour recorded in new images shot at locations including Rolls’ birthplace, the Royal Aero Club, Royal Automobile Club and the site of the original Rolls-Royce car showroom
 
“While he is of course best known as one of our co-founders, The Hon Charles Stewart Rolls, born on this day in 1877, was also a pioneer of aviation, a successful racing driver and a gifted engineer. His audacity, fearlessness, love of adventure and willingness to push boundaries continue to inspire us and our products. To mark this occasion, which means so much to our company, we’ve visited significant places from Rolls’ story with Ghost – a motor car with technology, performance, craftsmanship and excellence which embodies everything this remarkable man stood for, cherished and pursued during his extraordinary life and career.”
 
In honour of the occasion, the marque undertook a pilgrimage around London locations associated with the great man’s life and career, capturing striking images of Ghost at each stop along the way. The itinerary took in the following sites: 35 Hill Street, Mayfair The Hon Charles Stewart Rolls was born in this house close to Berkeley Square on 27 August 1877. As the third son of Lord and Lady Llangattock, he was born into a life of wealth and privilege, going on to be educated at Eton and Cambridge and enjoying the freedom to indulge his passions for aviation and motor racing.
 
By contrast, his business partner, Henry Royce, came from a humble background. In 1876, aged just 10, he was working as a telegram delivery boy at the Mayfair Post Office. His ‘beat’ included Hill Street, so it is perfectly possible that he delivered congratulatory letters and telegrams to Rolls’ proud parents.
119 Piccadilly. Until 1961, this Grade II Listed building on Piccadilly was the home of the Royal Aero Club, which Rolls co founded in 1901 with Frank Hedges Butler, a leading London wine merchant, and Butler’s daughter, Vera. Rolls began his flying career as a balloonist, making over 170 flights and winning the Aero Club de France Gold Medal in 1906 for the longest sustained time aloft. In 1910, he became only the second person in Britain to be awarded an aeroplane pilot’s licence; that same year, he achieved the unique feat of being the first Englishman to fly an aeroplane across the English Channel, and the first aviator ever to fly non-stop from England to France and back again.
 
Though now based outside the capital, the Royal Aero Club remains the national governing and coordinating body of air sport and recreational flying in Britain.