The King's Arms was built in the early nineteenth century around 1830, for John Brown's Tring Brewery (still highly visible but now a High St. stationer's). When built, the the pub's land included the top end of Charles St. (which was a dead end) and the pub's orchard was where the two bungalows 'Cosy Corner' and 'Corners' now stand.
Brown's distinctive architectural style was used on a number of other pubs in and around Tring as he expanded his estate. The 'KA' as it is known by regulars, has always been a pub, and internally in layout has not changed greatly in the last 180 odd years. Brown built grandly beside what was then the main London to Aylesbury road, catering initially for the army of navvies employed in building the railway, and in the expectation that expansion of the town would follow its completion.
As things turned out, the expected boom failed to materialise and the town centre grew slowly elsewhere, taking the main road along what became Western Road and the High Street. This left the pub rather isolated; later it became surrounded with the houses, shops and workshops that is now known as the 'Tring Triangle'. At some time during the second half of the 19th century the range of stables and warehousing that bound the garden were built (presumably by the Brewery for general commercial use).
In 1898 Brown's pubs were bought by Locke and Smith's Berkhamstead Brewery which in turn went to Benskin's Watford Brewery in 1913. Graham Greene records in 'A Sort of Life', as a young man in Berkhamsted around 1920, taking 'exciting car rides to the King's Arms in the neighbouring town of Tring'.
In 1957 Benskin's in turn was swallowed up by Ind Coope (a large brewery combine) as part of what became a geographical stranglehold of pub ownership by the infamous 'Big Six' Brewers. In the hands of Allied Breweries many pubs suffered near-terminal neglect and asset stripping through the 1970s. The King's Arms orchard was sold off in the late 1960s and the warehouse buildings let to a maker of pickles and jam, who was still there when we moved in.
The KA (along with a number of other local pubs) was closed, boarded up and offered for sale in 1979.
It was not expected that any of these pubs would reopen; one that did was the King's Arms. We took the plunge, moved here in 1980, tore down the boards and started work. In June 1981 we reopened it as it is now. The pink, grey and green colour scheme was chosen to distance us from previous corporate Brewery colours and customary drab, cream nicotine-stained interiors.
We offered a choice of beer, home-cooked food every day, and a bright, clean, friendly and warm welcome. At the time, this was seen as something of a novelty and, coincident with the burgeoning interest in Real Ale, was fortunately an instant success. Nowadays our family has the third generation behind the bar, and others are catching up where we blazed the trail. Nevertheless, any 'KA' regular will tell you that the values are the same, and we still offer a unique experience!