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(From Derby Evening Telegraph)
Byline: Robin Johnson
FEW workers will forget the shock they felt when they gathered at Rolls-Royce's Nightingale Road factory to hear that the company had gone into receivership.
It was mid-morning on February 4, 1971. At 10.30am, the staff and works unions had been informed by management of the situation. A short while later, they stood before the workforce to impart the grim news.
In the run-up to the announcement, there had been increasing concern over the escalating costs of the Rolls-Royce RB211 aero-engine project and the financial stability of the firm itself.
This had rumbled on for several months but no one imagined the company could come so close to collapse.
It was Rolls-Royce's darkest hour and, considering how many families relied on the stability of the engineering firm, it was also Derby's. After the initial shock, panic quickly spread.
Stories emerged that the Derbyshire Building Society had substantial investment in Rolls-Royce and that it, too, was on the verge of collapse.
Scores of investors, determined to withdraw their money before it disappeared, queued outside the society's branches, bringing much of the town to a standstill.