|The King of Rome - Charlie Hudson's famous racing Pigeon
|Who was Charlie Hudson?
The owner of the "King of Rome" was from a Derby family of Pigeon fanciers.
Born in the early 1870s, and one of a family of four children, he grew up in the West End of Derby, the area of sprawling terraces alongside Friar Gate.
Charles worked as a gas lamp lighter for Derby Corporation.
He also earned money as a basket maker and ran a pot shop from his house at 56 Brook Street (Now demolished). It was in the back yard of this house that he had his pigeon loft.
At one time Charles owned a short-distance racing pigeon that won 36 first prizes. After the fame of the record-breaking 1913 race, he had many offers for the winning bird, including from America.
Charles eventually presented the "King of Rome" to Derby Museum in 1946, and died on 13th March 1958 aged 84.
|This magnificent specimen is The King of Rome and is available to view in the "Treasures of Derby" pages of Derby Museums’ website. Even though this exhibit is over 80 years old it is in excellent condition.
The WINNING bird - The King of Rome - was donated to Derby Museum in 1946.
Find out more in the Treasures of Derby web pages at
Dave Sudbury who hails from Derby, his best known song "The King of Rome" tells the story of a Pigeon
bred in the West End of Derby, it has been re-recorded by Canadian folk star, Garnet Rogers, and June Tabor which is
on her hit album Aqaba.
|In the early 20th century, a man named Charlie Hudson raised racing pigeons in Derby, England. In 1913, he entered his best bird in a race all the way from Rome. A devastating storm came through on the day of the race and all the pigeons disappeared all but Charlie Hudson's pigeon, which found international acclaim as the "King of Rome." This lovely picture book follows the true story of Charlie and his amazing pigeon, and the hope they brought to his working class world. Gorgeous pencil and crayon illustrations capture both the era and the sense of flight.
King of Rome by Dave Sudbury
Illustrated by Hans Saefkow.
From article in The Racing Pigeon magazine August 2nd 1913
The Racing Pigeon Magazine is still in publication today...
Watch the Video here :
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Or The King of Rome on Vimeo.
© Andy Savage © www.derbyphotos.co.uk