Road trip: London to Liverpool in the electric Rolls-Royce Spectre

But, by the time its custodians have taken on a bite of lunch, the car has taken on an extra 100 miles of range in any case, and is ready to forge north again, this time on the M6.

Short work indeed is made of it. And before 3pm, we are gliding into Greater Manchester. We split the famously rough suburbs of Longsight and Moss Side – not areas you might expect to seek out in a car like this. But we are aiming for nearby Dearden Street, Hulme – the site of Royce’s first eponymous business: FH Royce and Company Ltd, Electrical Engineers.

Nestled these days in leafy Chichester, the current Rolls-Royce Motor Cars doesn’t refer to this place too often in its modern myth-making (although it does refer to the celebrated if contended lunch meeting between Rolls and Royce, supposedly at the nearby Midland Hotel, in 1904). So it is well worth recognising that, before Rolls-Royce was anything, or belonged anywhere else, it was very much a Lancastrian – specifically, a Mancunian – concern.

At Royce’s ‘Cooke Street’ factory (the road itself having been renamed since), first rented in 1884 but expanded quickly thereafter, the very first Rolls-Royce cars were made, among them the earliest 40/50 ‘Silver Ghosts’. Mostly, however, and before the cars, Royce’s firm made electric motors, magnetos, dynamos, winches, cranes – anything that British industry might need to electrify their businesses.

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