An Interview with John Hudson

Having worked with a number of publishers during his career, John Hudson held a strong ambition to develop his own list, and so John Hudson Publishing came to life. We are delighted to work with John Hudson, his titles are a great fit with our own lists, and this partnership is a welcome addition to the growing distribution side of our business. John Hudson Publishing books can be found here.

When and why did you form John Hudson Publishing?

I’ve worked in what you could loosely call the ‘heritage’ sector since 2006, with Oxbow Books and then English Heritage and Historic England, after publishing in various professional areas including medicine and law. It’s always been my ambition to develop my own publishing list, and when I left Historic England in 2019 to do so, I chose to concentrate on those areas of heritage which interest me most – architectural history and the development of landscape and settlements, and books useful for those working, studying or volunteering in the historic environment. Having access to leading authors helps too!

What do you hope to achieve with your publications?

I don’t have any aspiration to grow a huge list, but instead to develop a curated list with a modest number of titles, all produced to high standards and with peer review to ensure excellence of content. I can devote time to attend to both authors and readers which corporate publishers, however efficient, cannot, and with luck that will leave me with enough time to pursue other interests. As it’s just me, the only meetings I attend are ones I wish to!

What prompted you to begin working with Boydell & Brewer?

I’ve known and respected the Boydell & Brewer list since my time at Oxbow when we sold many of their books. I’m attracted by the employee-ownership model they follow which chimes well with my own values, and appreciate in particular their expertise in academic and international markets, and the digital marketplace, which are sectors which would be difficult for me to approach as a stand-alone publisher – so their independence combined with a measure of scale is important to me.

Can you please tell us about the first book you’ve published (out this month!) Late-Georgian Churches?

This is a period which amazingly hasn’t been studied in depth, and the Victorians with their confidence and exuberance in church building means this earlier period can be overlooked.  But during this time around 1,500 Anglican churches were built, particularly in the rapidly growing industrial towns as at this time of pew rents there were not enough seats for all the ordinary people to attend church who wished to. Not a problem many parishes face today! So this social story is as interesting to me as the architectural content, and Christopher Webster tells it in a very accessible manner, but incorporating much new research.

And what’s the next book and when will it be available?

The next one is English Victorian Churches by the very well-known scholar James Stevens Curl who has written many books over a long career. I’m hoping to publish by October. The emphasis here is on the Gothic style which largely replaced the Classical focus of the Georgians, as Classical came to be seen by many as Pagan and un-Christian. The intensity of debate about this was at a level it’s hard for us to understand today. The books coming up after these will take a break from churches for a while, but it’s a fascinating subject I’m sure I’ll return to.


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