This locomotive was probably built as works number 48 by E Borrows and Sons in 1906 for the United Glass Bottle Co. Ltd. works at 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.
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 Shackerstone Railway Society was founded in 1970 to provide a home for the locomotive. During the 1990s it left the Battlefield Line at Shackerstone when it went to the Fleetwood Loco Centre. It was at Fleetwood where it was last steamed during the 1990s.
It was transferred to the Ribble Steam Railway in March 2002. 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.
In January 2020 it was reported that the locomotive had been moved to the Flour Mill for an overhaul which is hoped will only take two years to complete.
The locomotive is owned by P. Steer and P. Probert.