'I want to amuse myself with the place'
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When Edward Hudson said this he had only just acquired the lease to Lindisfarne Castle. By the time he came to move on twenty years later, he remarked how it had been a far more expensive venture than he could have ever imagined. While never a permanent resident, one thing is for sure; the Castle would not be here today without him.
'Huddy', as Lutyens fondly referred to him as, was born in 1854, the son of a printer in Southwark, London. In his early life he had a passion for outdoor pursuits such as walking and cycling, so it came as no surprise when in 1897, his fledgling career as a solicitor gave way in favour of founding Country Life magazine.
The magazine went from strength to strength, so much so that new larger offices were needed. Hudson commissioned a young architect called Edwin Lutyens to design what would become the HQ of Country Life in Covent Garden.
On 13 August 1901, Lutyens wrote to his wife to say he had been for dinner with Huddy the night before and had heard about his holiday in Northumberland (with Peter Anderson Graham, editor of Country Life and native to the county). He thought it was rather funny than Hudson had offered money for the lease to a Castle! And that he thought to renovate it and have guests for Christmas! Lutyens was also very amsued by the thought of the tides, and the Castle being on an Island. Hudson though was very serious about the whole thing.
On 2 January 1902, Hudson wired Lutyens to say he had got Lindisfarne. Lutyens wrote to his wife saying he would visit the sight, 'it will be amusing' he concluded.
Lutyens set about turning the Castle into a viable holiday home for Hudson and this was largely completed by 1912. Hudson eventually bought the Castle outright in 1918, but soon after was growing tired of the long journey north and of course the expense of maintaining the place. In a letter to his caretaker, Islander Jack Lilburn, on 1 December 1921, Hudson explained that he had sold Lindisfarne to the financier Oswald Falk.
Edward Hudson was almost a lifelong bachelor. He was engaged to the ravishing cellist Madame Suggia in 1918 but that arrangement was ended by her. However in 1929, at the age of 74, he married the editor of Homes and Gardens, Ellen Woolrich. Huddy died at his home on Queen Anne's Gate, London (designed by Lutyens, naturally) on 17 September 1936.