Hudson, George (1800–71). Born near York and apprenticed to a linen draper, Hudson became a prominent York merchant. Inheriting £30,000 from a relative in 1828, he entered local politics and the developing world of railways. After several years on the city council, he became lord mayor in 1837. Hudson played a leading part from 1837 onwards in creating the railway network in the north. By 1844 he controlled 1,016 miles of railway and had been nicknamed ‘the Railway King’. This facilitated his election as Conservative MP for Sunderland in 1845. He was deputy lieutenant of Durham and magistrate in three counties, acquiring estates and houses which became centres of high society. The financial basis of his empire was precarious and he was in trouble by late 1847. By 1849 he was stripped of his railway chairmanships and investigations disclosed much ‘cooking’ of railway accounts. He never recovered from this catastrophe.
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