This page attempts to explain the significance and meaning behind the King of the Road Inn Sign. Research is augmented with photographs of pub signs

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Information on the King of the Road Inn Sign

In 1971 Ansell's Brewery sacrificed the licence of the Woolpack in Summer Lane in order to open the King of the Road fronting Farm Street and Hospital Street amid the new housing development in Newtown. The pub's site was close to the former Lucas factory on Great King Street in neighbouring Hockley. Born in 1834 in Carver Street, Joseph Lucas started his own business in the 1860's selling paraffin oil for lamps.

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Inn Sign of the King of the Road at Newtown Birmingham [1975]

Joseph Lucas moved into production manufacturing his own lamps and it was the "King of the Road" cycle lamp that brought the fledgling company great success. Designed by Harry Lucas and first used on Penny Farthing bicycles in 1878, the "King of the Road" lamp was granted a patent shortly afterwards and, following the formation of Joseph Lucas and Son, the "King of the Road" Lion became the company's trademark in 1884. Enjoying considerable success in the early bicycle boom years, Joseph Lucas Ltd. capitalised on the birth and growth of the automotive industry.

The second signboard is a later sign when the pub formed part of the Alehouse Company brand. In this illustration the driver has booted one of the car lamps as the road surface is rather bumpy. The sign, however, couldn't hold a candle to the earlier design for Ansell's.

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King of the Road Inn Sign

Inn Sign of the King of the Road at Newtown Birmingham [2002]

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Quotation

Lewis Carroll

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
Lewis Carroll