First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

Edwin HUDSON (1897–1917)

Edwin Hudson

Edwin Hudson was born in Oxford in 1897, the son of Edwin Hudson senior (born in Bicester in 1867, reg. last quarter) and his first wife Rosina Willis (baptised at Pillgwenlly, Newport, Monmouthshire on 6 March 1873, the daughter of Timothy & Eliza Willis).

His parents were married in the Keynsham district of Somerset in the third quarter of 1894 and had the following children:

  • Clara Elizabeth Hudson (born in Combe Martin, Devon in 1895, reg. second quarter)
  • Edwin Hudson (born in Oxford in 1897, reg. Headington district last quarter)
  • Gladys May Hudson (born in Oxford in 1900, reg. Headington district second quarter)
  • William Gladstone Hudson (born in Oxford on 27 October 1903)
  • George Henry Hudson (born in Oxford in 1907, reg. Headington district fourth quarter); died at New High Street at the age of one and buried at Headington Cemetery on 31 March 1909.

At the time of the 1881 census Edwin’s father, Edwin Hudson senior, was a fishmonger’s lad aged 13, living in Bicester. He married Edwin’s mother, Rosina, in Somerset in 1894, and they were living at Combe Martin in Devon by 1895.

By 1897 they had moved to east Oxford, and the 1901 census shows them living at 90 Percy Street with their first three children: Clara (6), Edwin (3), and Gladys (11 months). Edwin’s father was then a coal & oil merchant, employing a yard man, who lived with them.

By 1907 the family had moved up to Headington, and Edwin’s father returned to the fish trade. Edwin's youngest brother was born that year, but he died at the age of one in 1909. Edwin’s mother Rosina Hudson died at the age of 35 less than a month after her son, and she was buried in Headington Cemetery on 26 April 1909.

About six months after his first wife’s death, in the third quarter of 1909, Edwin Hudson senior married again: his second wife was Mrs Rose Gertrude Agnes Elston. Formerly Rose Gertrude Agnes Holloway and born in Barnet, Hertfordshire in c.1871, she had married her previous husband George Joseph Elston in the Headington registration district in 1893, and her two sons were born there: David George Elston (1896) and Talbot Bevan Elston (1898). Her husband had died in Oxford at the age of 41 in 1901.

At the time of the 1911 census Edwin (13) was still at school (almost certainly Headington National School). He was living in Holyoake Road (then called Western Road), probably at the present No. 26 with his father Edwin (43), who described himself as a fishmonger and employer, and his stepmother Rose (39). Also living with them were Edwin's three surviving: Clara (16), who was an apprentice dressmaker, and Gladys (10) and William (7), as well as Rose's sons Daniel Elston (14) and Talbot Elston (12).

1 New High Street in 1917



Soon after the census, the Hudson family moved to 1 New High Street in Highfield parish, and Edwin Hudson senior’s fish shop is listed there in directories from 1915.




Left: Detail from a postcard showing New High Street before the First World War. The low building on the left is No. 1A, which was probably the fish shop, and the narrow semi-detached house next to it is No. 1, the house where the Hudson family lived during the First World War.



Below: 1A and 1 New High Street in 2009. 1A on the left (the former fish & chip shop) has now been built up to the same height as No. 1 on the right

1 and 1A New High Street in 2009

Edwin Hudson emigrated on his own to Australia when he was only 17. His occupation was then a messenger, and he sailed from London to Sydney on the Demosthenes on 24 October 1914. He became an Australian citizen, but returned to Europe with the Australian army fight in the war.

Poppy Edwin Hudson served as a Private (Service No. 6744) in the 29th Battalion of the Australian Infantry, A.I.F. in the First World War. He died in Belgium (probably at Passchendaele) at the age of 20 on 23 November 1917.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7-17-23- 25-27-29-31) and on the Roll of Honour of All Saints’ Church, Highfield.


All Saints' board

Edwin’s grandfather
  • William Hudson must have come to live with Edwin’s family, as he died at 1 New High Street at the age of 95. He was buried at Headington Cemetery on 6 December 1930.
Edwin’s father
  • Edwin Hudson senior is listed in directories as a private resident at 1 New High Street until 1958.
Edwin’s siblings
  • Clara Elizabeth Hudson (born 1895) married Frank O. Whitbread in the Headington registration district in the fourth quarter of 1918.
  • Gladys May Hudson (born 1900) married Cyril H. East in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1920.
  • William Gladstone Hudson (born 1903) married Nora E. Shayler in the Headington registration district in the second quarter of 1925. He was listed as a plumber at 1 New High Street in 1925 only.
The Hudsons’ house

In 1923 Headington Cinema was built next door but one to the north of Edwin Hudson senior’s house at 1 New High Street, and by 1927 Walter Henry Abbey had opened a fish & chip shop in part of Hudson’s house to the north (numbered 1A), where he stored the bicycles of cinema patrons as well as feeding them. This shop survived until 1956.

See also
  • CWGC: Hudson, Edwin
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 30 January 1918, p. 6, “Heroes of the War”: Photograph of Pte E Hudson, Australian Imperial Force, Headington (shown above with kind permission of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire History Centre)

Back to All Saints’ Church, Highfield roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website