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The Railway King

Robert Beaumont

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Midlands, Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction, Trains & railways: general interest

The first full biography of George Hudson, the Victorian railway king

George Hudson - the eponymous Railway King - started his career with a stroke of luck, inheriting 27,000 (a fortune in 1827) from a distant relative. He invested successfully in the North Midland Railway, then formed his own Midland Railway, raising 5 million and bribing MPs along the way. But from his glory in 1845 he fell into disgrace, admitting corruption and selling land he did not own. He was eventually imprisoned in York Castle and died a broken man in 1871.

His story provides an excellent insight into nineteenth-century politics and industrial progress, full of moral dilemmas and a testimony to the growth of the railways in Britain - a timely subject.

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