The King of Rome

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The King of Rome
The-King-Of-Rome.jpg
The preserved bird in Derby Museum
Species Columba livia f. domestica
Breed Racing pigeon
Sex Cock
Known for
  • Long-distance race winner
  • Subject of song
Owner Charlie Hudson
Appearance Blue Cock
Named after Rome-England bird race

The King of Rome was a racing pigeon. It won a race from Rome, in Italy, to England. The race was in 1913. It was 1,001-mile (1,611 km) long. Dave Sudbury wrote a song about the pigeon. The song was recorded by June Tabor.[1]

The bird[change | change source]

The King of Rome was a racing pigeon. It won a race from Rome, in Italy, to England. The race was in 1913. It was 1,001-mile (1,611 km) long. The bird was a type of pigeon called a blue cock,[2]>. It had a ring on its leg. Written on the ring was a reference number. The number was NU1907DY168,[3]. The pigeon was owned[1] by Charlie Hudson. He also bred the pigeon[2]. Hudson as born in the early 1870s. He died on 13 March 1958. When he died he was 84 years old[3]). He lived at 56 Brook Street, Derby. The house has been demolished. It was at 52°55′35″N 1°29′08″W / 52.9265°N 1.4855°W / 52.9265; -1.4855. Hudson started pigeon racing in 1904.[1] When the race happened, he was president and treasurer of Derby Town Flying Club.[1] He also wrote about pigeon-racing for the Derby Evening Telegraph.[4]

When the bird died, Hudson gave its body to Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The museum stuffed its skin. The museum exhibit is known as "accession number DBYMU.1946/48". It has been on show at Derby and elsewhere. It has been on show at Walsall Museum. It has also been on show at Wollaton Hall. Wollaton Hall is in Nottingham,[4]. As of August 2011, the bird is back on display in Derby Museum.[5]

The song[change | change source]

Sudbury, in 2012
"The King of Rome"
Song by June Tabor

from the album Aqaba

Released 1988 (1988)
Genre Folk
Language English
Label Topic
Composer Dave Sudbury
Producer Andrew Cronshaw

Dave Sudbury wrote a song about The King of Rome. The song is also about Charlie Hudson. It says that "On the day of the big race a storm blew in. A thousand birds were swept away and never seen again",[5]. That shows how dangerous birds races can be.

The song was recorded by June Tabor.[1] She heard Sudbury sing the song at a competition. The competition was in the late 1980s. She was a judge at the competition. Sudbury came fourth[6]. Tabor also recorded the song. She recorded it for an album called Aqaba. Aqaba was released in 1988.

Brian McNeill was another finalist at the competition. He said:

The King of Rome was head and shoulders above every other song sung on the night, and should have won.[6]

McNeill also sang the song. A live recording is on Live and Kicking.[6]. That is a record McNeil made in 2000. He recorded it with Iain MacKintosh.

The band Half Man Half Biscuit also played the song. But they never put it on one of their records.[7].

The book[change | change source]

The words of the song have been made into a book. The book has 32 pages. It has drawings by Hans Saefkow.[8]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Museum plea on pigeon". Derby Evening Telegraph. 2001-09-25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Racing Pigeon: 139. 1913-08-02.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Savage, Andy. "The King of Rome - Charles Hudsons famous Pigeon from the West end of Derby.". Derby Photos. http://www.derbyphotos.co.uk/features/kingofrome/. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Legend of the stuffed superstar". Derby Evening Telegraph. 1996-12-09.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Natural History treasure - The King of Rome". Derby City Council. http://www.derby.gov.uk/LeisureCulture/MuseumsGalleries/NaturalHistorytreasureTheKing+of+Rome.htm. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Sleeve notes, Iain MacKintosh & Brian McNeill, Live and Kicking, 2000
  7. "HMHB: Unreleased Tracks from Radio Sessions". http://cobweb.businesscollaborator.com/hmhb/Unreleased.htm. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  8. Sudbury, Dave; Saefkow, Hans (2010). The King of Rome. Simply Read Books. ISBN 978-1894965941. http://www.simplyreadbooks.com/book.php?book_id=43.

Other websites[change | change source]