Meet the men who are putting their firm on the fast track to success in the capital

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HER Majesty the Queen, Boris Johnson and The Mayor of New York all have one.

And for a few pounds, visitors to the London Transport Museum can also get their hands on one.

Tony Kidby and James Kidby of Link Signs, St Leoanards

Tony Kidby and James Kidby of Link Signs, St Leoanards

The iconic London Roundel is synonymous with the world’s most famous underground train system.

And step inside the Links Signs factory on the Ponswood Industrial Estate and you may feel like you’re in the capital about to board a tube train on the London Underground.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Drury Lane, the family run factory is quietly going about its business helping galvanise interest in St Leonards.

The family business was started in the early 1980s by John Kidby. John was a signage installer but after 1987 he started making the products himself.

The King’s Cross disaster of November 1987 triggered a massive change in the production of signs for the London Underground. The inquiry ruled that wooden panels in an escalator had contributed to the blaze that killed 31 people. This paved the way for all signs on the Underground system to be flame retardant and fireproof to extremely high temperatures.

John signed a deal with Transport for London in the late 1980s and started up a highly lucrative business to supply signs to the Docklands Light Railway, buses and underground stations.

In the late 1990s he handed over the business to his three sons, Tony, James and Roger. Tony, 43, is now the managing director, James, 33, the commercial director and Roger, 44, the production manager. They now employ 15 staff and business has gone from strength to strength.

Earlier this year they spent £100,000 on a new vitreous enamel furnace which allows them to fire up steel to temperatures of almonst 1000 degrees Celcius. This can produce enamel backed signs that can resist the harshest of heat even underground. It is believed to be the first new kiln of its type in the south east for 40 years.

During the Olympics last year the company made a roundel for the Queen with Buckingham Palace written on the sign and one of Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. It also produced a roundel for the former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg and one for the set of Eastenders which read Walford East.

Tony said: “We are very proud of our roots here our work for Transport for London.

“We’re passionate about what we do. In 100 years time people will still be seeing our signs on the underground which makes us very proud to play our part. We are also very proud of our three apprentices which we took on recently who are a key part of our success. We hide our light under a bushel. We don’t advertise - we don’t need to. “It’s fantastic there are thousands of signs across London that carry the stamp ‘Made in St Leonards’ and we’re really proud to play our part in the world’s most famous transport system.”