Kate finally came home from boarding school a beautiful young lady but was simply used as a “Mothers Help” in her fathers house in Coach Lane (on the right going down). They moved next door to another Stephenson on the fish quay, Peter, a very distant relative. These were house numbers 6 and 8.
I would like to say that her father’s wife was a wicked stepmother but that was not the case. George was a strict father and would not let her go to all the parties and dances Kate wished for. Her step mother was a sweet kind lady who helped her dress and sneak out to dances on many occasions. Kate was vivacious, high spirited, a lovely dancer enjoying life to the full, In the social round she met her cousin once more, handsome Hudson, son of William.
He was an attractive man about town. An excellent swimmer, a member of Holy Trinity Church choir, but most of all a prominent and active member of North Shields Cycling club, Headquarters Hylton Lodge, Lovaine Place. A more dashing and debonair group of young blades you could never find. Kate and Hudson fell madly in love.
Father George didn’t like, didn’t approve of Hudson and anyway they were cousins – not a good thing as far as marriage and children were concerned. He forbade the wedding, The young couple eloped through the fields to Tynemouth and were married in Holy Saviours Church in 1886.
Now Hudson was a gentleman. Too much of a gentleman to go into his fathers business on the Quay among the fish, no matter how prosperous. He became a “Hatter” and went into the men’s outfitters trade. He didn’t make much money and as Kate’s father had stopped speaking to them they had many hard times when they were young.
They lived at 58 Bedford Terrace and were married some years before they had Alice Maude (B1895), George (1897) William (1898) and Hudson (1900).
Kate worked hard to keep the family respectable, cobbling the boys boots herself, making clothes, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, all beautiful work.
William, Hudson’s father had finally put him into business for himself, a drapers shop in Union Street, but unfortunately it seems he was not a good businessman and it failed, he went bankrupt. He eventually became a floor walker at Murtons in Newcastle, always beautifully dressed with a flower in his buttonhole. It was a very high class store and he certainly was a high class gent, but after leaving the train at north shields on his way home from work, Kate had to wait until he had visited two or three public houses on his way home before she could give him his dinner. He quite often was slightly drunk , bowing to lampposts when he bumped into them, apologising and doffing his hat. He was always quietly spoken, a gentle person, patiently waiting until Kate had finished shouting at him when everything was too much for her. He would simply go into the front room and play hymns on the piano.
They were very patriotic, devoted to the royal family., One of Hudson’s favourite things was a flag pole in the front garden. (a very small garden with a very large flag). On Empire day, the King’s birthday, or any important event Hudson had all the neighbourhood children lined up saluting the flag.
In later years they went on holiday to their favourite place, Rothbury in Northumberland, where they walked their favourite walks a hundred times over.
Their house was always the centre of fun and parties both at Belford Terrace and a 8 Jackson Street where they eventually moved. They loved each other devotedly.
Meg Stephenson in 1987
A copy of Hudson Stephenson’s indenture papers – he qualified as a Draper in 1886
Kate and Hudson had four children:
Alice Maud (b. 1895 – d. 1980) never married and spent much of her life as companion to her mother.
George (b. 1898 – d. 1918) was drowned in WW1.
William (b.1899 – d. 1972) married Minnie Armstrong and had three children
Hudson (b. 1904 – d. 1936) married Violet Todd in 1930 and had one son, Barry James (b. 1932).
The end of Kate’s Story.
Hudson Senior died about the same time as Hudson Junior in 1936, aged 70 years. The second world war began and with it came the loss of Leonard, drowned at sea.
These were all devastating blows and Kate was broken hearted. She rallied enough to help her son Bill get the tenancy of the Fountain Head in North Shields, but when he lost the tenancy of that she seemed to lose heart.
She died January 1945, aged 78 years.
Meg Stephenson in 1987