Ald. George Hudson
(1800-1871)

Died aged c. 71

George Hudson (probably 10 March 1800 – 14 December 1871) was an English railway financier and politician who, because he controlled a significant part of the railway network in the 1840s, became known as "The Railway King" – a title conferred on him by Sydney Smith in 1844. Hudson played a significant role in linking London to Edinburgh by rail, carrying out the first major merging of railway companies (the Midland Railway) and represented Sunderland in the House of Commons. Hudson’s success was built on dubious financial practices and he frequently paid shareholders out of capital rather than money the company had earned. Eventually in 1849, a series of enquiries launched by the railways he was chairman of, exposed his methods, although many leading the enquiries had benefited and approved of Hudson’s methods when it suited them. Hudson fell a long way becoming bankrupt and after losing his Sunderland seat he was forced to live abroad to avoid arrest for debt, returning only when imprisonment for debt was abolished in 1870. Hudson's name is associated with financial wrongdoing, although others were at least partially guilty of similar practices. He never named any of his co-conspirators, although many of them turned their backs on him when the bubble burst.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Photo of George Hudson bronze plaque
Keith Seabridge on Flickr
Photo of George Hudson black plaque
Peter Hughes on Flickr

George Hudson MP 1800-1871. An Alderman and three times Lord Mayor of York, he became known as The Railway King for his work in bringing the railways to York. It was here that he had his original draper's shop.

1 College Street, York, United Kingdom where they had his original draper's shop here

George Hudson M.P. 1800-1871 Lived in this house. An Alderman and three times Lord Mayor of York, he became known as The Railway King for his work in bringing the railways to York.

44 Monkgate, York, United Kingdom where they lived