The King spent most of it’s life working for United Glass in London, before being transferred to St Helens. The loco last steamed in the late 1990’s when on site at the Fleetwood Loco Centre, and will require boiler work before returning to traffic. The unusual well tank arrived on 23rd March 2002.
Supplied new in 1906 to United Glass Bottle Co. Ltd., St. Helens Works, Lancs. the 0-4-0 well-tank The King was built by E. Borrows & Sons, Engineers, of Providence Works, Sutton, St. Helens. Between 1875 and 1910 this firm built some 38 known examples of this type of 0-4-0 well-tank, with works numbers ranging from 1 to 55. The works number of The King has never been known for certain. Some extensive research has been done on Borrows locomotives by Mr. B. Roberts of the Stephenson Locomotive Society, which suggests that The King was probably No. 48 in the Borrows list. It seems certain that this design of four-wheel well-tank was first built in St. Helens by James Cross & Co. during the 1860s, the first two being Ant of 1866 and Bee of 1868. The Borrows series can be said to be a direct development of these two locomotives by Cross. Shortly after 1910, building of Borrows loco-motives was transferred to H. W. Johnson & Co., which first operated from Providence Works, later moving to the Pocket Nook district of SL Helens, and finally a few miles northwards to Rainford. Between 1913 and 1921 three more locomotives were built to the Borrows design, and given works numbers 56, 57 and 58. No. 56 was probably built at Providence Works in 1913, and the other two at Rainford during 1921. In 1923, The King was transferred by United Glass Bottle Co. Ltd. to its works at Charlton, London SE., where it remained in service until the spring of 1967, when it was purchased by the Industrial Preservation Group.
The locomotive itself is likely to be too small to see regular service on the railway, and has been initially be restored for museum exhibition. The loco is now on display in the museum building following a splendid repaint by it’s owners.
When working at United Glass Bottle Manufacturers, the loco actually worked alongside fellow RSR resident L&Y “Pug” No.19 – named “Prince” at the time.
Borrows, E. & Sons, Providence Works, St.Helens, Edward Borrows developed the “Borrows-type” of industrial locomotive, most of which were used by local industry notably by Pilkington Bros., Brunner Mond and United Alkali. In 1910 the locomotive business was taken over by H.W. Johnson & Co.