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portrait of george hudson 18001871 the railway king


Portrait Of George Hudson 1800-1871 "The Railway King"


£4,500 | $5,479 USD | €5,176 EUR
Item Number: SA342087
Date of manufacture: 1800
Current Status: For sale
Seller: Artware Fineart
This antique has been viewed 36 times in the past month with the most views from Singapore.


English School 19th Century
Portrait of George Hudson 1800-1871 "The Railway King"
oil on canvas
66.04 x 45.72 cm. (26 x 18 in.)
Hudson, George [called the Railway King] (1800–1871), railway promoter and fraudster, was born in March 1800 at Howsham, about 12 miles north-east of York, the fifth son of a farmer who died in 1806. He went to local schools and in 1815 was apprenticed to Bell and Nicholson, a firm of drapers in College Street, York. When his apprenticeship was complete he received a share in the business. Bell retired and the firm became Nicholson and Hudson. In 1821 he married Elizabeth Nicholson, who was the daughter of one of the partners in the firm and five years older than he was. Four of their children survived into adulthood: George, who was called to the bar and became an inspector of factories; John, who entered the army and was killed in the Indian mutiny; William, who became a doctor; and Anne, who married a Polish count, Count Suminski.
In 1827, already a wealthy man, Hudson received a legacy of £30,000 from a great-uncle, Matthew Bottrill. This money enabled him to establish himself in the political and social life of York. He became treasurer of the local tory party at the time of the election following the Reform Bill of 1832, and in 1833 he took a leading part in the establishment of the York Union Banking Company. In 1835 Hudson was elected to the newly reformed York city council and in November of 1837 he became lord mayor. He entertained lavishly and was re-elected in the following year, although he was not strictly eligible to stand. In 1833 Hudson attended a meeting in which the construction of a railway from York to link up with the Leeds to Selby line was proposed. He subsequently subscribed for 500 shares and was the largest shareholder. An act of parliament was obtained in 1837 and Hudson became chairman of the company, known as the York and North Midland Railway Company, with George Stephenson as the engineer.

In 1841 he persuaded the shareholders in eight railway companies engaged, so far unsuccessfully, in building a line from York to Newcastle, to join together to build the section of the line from Darlington to Newcastle and an act of parliament was obtained in 1842 for that purpose. In the same year he obtained control of the North Midland Leeds to Derby line and this was followed by the merger of the Birmingham and Derby and the Midland Counties companies with his own. By 1844 he controlled over 1000 miles of railway and was dubbed the Railway King but his ‘kingdom’ lacked any direct line into London. He, together with George Stephenson, had long planned a line into London from the midlands, and when the Great Northern line from London through Peterborough to York was proposed he made determined and often unscrupulous efforts to block the scheme, unsuccessfully, the act for the line being passed in June of 1846.
Early in 1844 William Gladstone, then president of the Board of Trade, prompted by the large number of railway bills then coming before parliament and alarmed at the intense competition between rival companies, set up a House of Commons committee of inquiry into the railways. This was seen by many railway proprietors as the beginning of state control and a campaign of opposition was headed by Hudson. He had a private meeting with Gladstone and compromise terms were agreed which removed any immediate prospect of railway nationalization.
By this time Hudson was very wealthy, with several estates in Yorkshire, including the Londesborough estate of some 12,000 acres, bought from the duke of Devonshire for £470,000, partly with the aim of blocking a possible competitor from building a line from York to Hull. He bought Newby Park from Earl de Grey in October of 1845 and also owned a large mansion, Albert House, in Knightsbridge. In 1846 he outlined plans
Internal Ref: 3732


This item is antique. The date of manufacture has been declared as 1800.


Height = 66 cm (26.0")
Width = 45 cm (17.7")
Depth = 2 cm (0.8")

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Artware Fineart
18 La Gare
51 Surrey Row
United Kingdom

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