Cooke Street, A Pilgrim’s Guide

The First Rolls-Royce Factory

Cooke streetby David G. Dudley

For dyed-in-the-wool Rolls-Royce folks this little booklet offers a welcome, and first and only look at the archaeology of a long-lost Rolls-Royce building that had been demolished in 1965 but was of pivotal importance in the firm’s history—a veritable holy grail for enthusiasts of this supremely important and iconic British maker of not only luxury automobiles.

When author David Dudley realized that enthusiasts couldn’t easily find the location of Royce’s first factory in Hulme, Manchester (a plaque placed there in 2004 by the Rolls-Royce Group plc marks the spot) he determined to bring the building back to life in the virtual world.

The whole Hulme area had been redeveloped twice since World War II, tearing up the old street pattern. Using old aerial photos, mapping techniques, and two nearby old buildings as reference points, he deduced the coordinates of where the factory must have once stood. He then superimposed old photos of the factory (back and front) onto modern photos of the area as it is now. Not content with that he then recreated the interior, which was rather difficult as only few old photos of it survive. As best as possible he worked out the layout and functions of each part of the site. The result is a most evocative guided tour of a vanished industrial age.


Copyright 2013, Tom Clarke (

Cooke Street, A Pilgrim’s Guide: The First Rolls-Royce Factory
by David G. Dudley
Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust, 2012
20 pages, softcover
List Price: £3 + shipping
ISBN: na
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