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'Roller' misnomer does the salesman proud


In his characteristically elegant review of the Bawa monograph (AJ 6.3.03), Richard Weston alludes to the Rolls-Royce as a 'Roller'.

The correct abbreviation is 'Royce', in recognition of Sir Henry Royce as designer and manufacturer of the cars emanating from Manchester, Derby, Crewe and Goodwood (the latter two posthumously). By comparison, the Hon CS Rolls was little more than a salesman, albeit a highly successful one.

Undoubtedly, both men would have considered 'Roller' vulgar, as, indeed, they did the various mascots with which early Rolls-Royce customers adorned the Parthenon-like radiators of their motor cars.

To combat this, Rolls-Royce commissioned The Spirit of Ecstasy (also alluded to by Weston) from Sir Charles Sykes RA, which became a standard embellishment on every subsequent 'Royce'. Sykes' model for this famous figurine was, allegedly, the then Lord Montagu's secretary.

Professor Emeritus A Peter Fawcett, Pocklington, York

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