John tells the story of how his parents’ railway romance led him to play childhood game with wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.
Funded by Bristol City Council. Watershed has created a new Bristol Stories theme to focus on the area now designated as the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.
The theme engages businesses, residents, and people travelling through Temple Meads and the surrounding neighbourhoods in projects that deliver creative digital representation of the area to ‘animate’ the heritage and personal experience of the area.
As part of this project Watershed worked with Knowle West Media Centre to deliver digital storytelling workshops with a group of ex-railway workers and ex-railway workers widows who lived and worked on the railways in Bristol.
This project was funded by Bristol City Council and delivered by Watershed and Knowle West Media Centre in collaboration with bigger house film
Hello I’m still here, I’m John Hudson.
I didn’t actually work on the railway, but my mother and father did. So I have a story which involves them two. This is my mother Maud and my father James. Yes, there was mother (?!). Fortunately I didn’t follow the habit.
Me and John, I mean I’ve got an album full of pictures obviously. Some good looking bloke, what happened? Yeah, I looking on John’s behalf, but I didn’t actually expect to find all of this information. I just found an interesting…See how they got a sign across a stamp ? oh yeah.
That’s a wedding photograph of them getting married. My mother worked on the restaurant cars in Swindon and in Bristol and they met somewhere on the railway.
It’s obviously not on Temple Meads, this is just him in his waiter’s uniform doing something. I reckon it is purely and simply by the chairs in there I reckon it’s Temple Meads. My father was the head waiter on Number 9 platform and my mother came to Bristol to marry my father and I John, was born in 1935.
Because he didn’t go off to war he was at home with me so I learnt a lot about him and I used to follow him around.
My mother would send me up there usually on a Friday afternoon, she probably sent me up there to some free food. Quite literally there was war on and food was scarce. It was there I also met Mr. Churchill. Towards the end of the war we seem to, as an old man and a young boy, we seemed to get along quite well together. We didn’t speak a lot, but we played this little game. We would point out people and decide whether we liked them or not without speaking.
I barely spoke to the man at all, not physically, not in words. We just had this way of speaking with our fingers. I didn’t know I was doing this until he sat down one day and started doing the same.
He kept sort of saying over there and I sort of ‘I don’t like that fella. Oh yeah that’s all right. And I would just make it up as I went along. But, he was laughing all the time, he was happy.
I suppose he probably liked me and I certainly liked him and we had various exchanges. Once I was there Mr Eisenhower tried to butt in and he was more or less brushed aside because he was speaking to me.
At the time my father said don’t ever speak about this at all to anyone, which I didn’t. It wasn’t so long ago I had an operation in hospital and I think one or two things came back to me that I’d forgotten about.
I have never ever spoken about this till now (laughs)