Hudson was a great guy, full of fun and a very natty dresser, very popular with all the young lads of the neighbourhood. Walter Armstrong was one of his mates and had endless stories of a;; the scrapes and practical jokes they got up to, such as Hudson treating all his pals to pies and peas and running off just as they were served out with all his pals running pell-mell after him as none of them had any money. The poor proprietor had 8 or 9 portions for pies and peas left on his hands.
Hudson always had big ideas and ran a big motor bike, a Douglas, and gave rides to a couple of pals at a time, one on the pillion and one on the fuel tank. Hudson fell for Mr Todd’s beautiful daughter Violet, and because she had big ideas his pockets were usually empty. He solved this by taking his mothers paintings and selling them to make ends meet. Violet had not really thought about him as a possible suitor until Hudson’s mother Kate got her inheritance, and then it was a different story.
They got married and went to the Five Bridges. Hudson finally got sick of all his in laws telling him what to do so he came home and Kate helped him buy the tenancy of the Briar Dene Pub along the links at Whitley Bay. It was well out of town in those days, and very run down. Irene Stewart went along every day to help him get it put straight. Violet didn’t want to leave Darlington and her family. She had a baby, Barry, and disgusted the family by arriving with a nurse in full uniform to carry Baby Barry, the nurse walking behind her, and with Violet dressed to kill.
She wouldn’t work in the pub and when her mother and sister arrived they just sat about all day drinking coffee. Irene wouldn’t go along to work for Hudson if they were not working too, so the work was not getting done.
There were rows and more rows. Violet wanted to go back to Darlington with her mother. She had not realised she would have to pitch in and work when she married Hudson, after all, his mother was rich! Hudson began to drink heavily, and Violet began an affair with Selwyn Dixon. Hudson finally blew his top, took some money and left. There was nothing out of order in the pub, it had been going well, but he had had enough. He left in 1936 – presumably leaving Violet in charge of the pub. He went to London in a very depressed frame of mind. He must not have known what to do so he committed suicide by jumping off one of London’s Bridges and drowning in the Thames.
Bill, his brother went down with a friend to identify the body, in the greatest distress. All the family laid the blame for Hudson’s suicide firmly at Violets door and never had anything more to do with either her or Barry.
Violet married Selwyn Dixon and eventually took the tenancy of the Robin Hood Inn at Merton, New York. She must have had to work then whether she liked it or not.
Hudson looked very like Bill’s son George, and had similar mannerisms too. His son Barry was all Todd, but one of his sons has all the Stephenson looks.
The family always said if Hudson had married Minnie instead of Violet he would have been a rich man, because they were both such good workers.
Meg Stephenson in 1987
The Briar Dene Public House now – in a prime location on Whitley Bay Links