Great-niece of Steam Elephant builder marks anniversary

The 200th anniversary of the Steam Elephant locomotive has been marked by it's builder's great-niece visiting its replica at Beamish

David Kidd and Jane Woolley, great niece of John Buddle, with a replica of his Steam Elephant locomotive
David Kidd and Jane Woolley, great niece of John Buddle, with a replica of his Steam Elephant locomotive

The great-niece of a man who built a pioneering steam locomotive 200 years ago has visited its North replica to mark the anniversary.

John Buddle built the Steam Elephant 200 years ago, a replica of which is now housed at Beamish Museum.

His great-niece Jane Woolley visited the museum version on Tuesday.

Famous Newcastle mining engineer Buddle built the Steam Elephant with his associate William Chapman at Wallsend in 1813.

The locomotive saw service at Wallsend, Heaton and Hetton for more than 20 years.

Retired Jane, who lives in Sussex, found out she was related to Buddle when she began researching her family history.

She had not heard of Buddle before beginning her research and was surprised to find there are streets named after him in Benwell and Wallsend.

Jane took a ride on the replica and was accompanied by David Kidd, a writer from Jarrow who is working on a biography of Buddle.

Jane and Mr Kidd were introduced by the Mining Institute in Newcastle when staff there found out both were researching Buddle.

The pair have been working together for the last two years.

He said: “Jane said she had a fantastic day at the museum, the highlight of which was a ride on the museum’s replica of the Steam Elephant.”

Meanwhile, Jane is also trying to trace music lover Buddle’s most precious possession – his double bass. The instrument, which he was said to have bought for �170, was last heard of at the end of the 19th Century in the possession of Robert Preston, from the Newcastle Theatre Royal orchestra.

Mr Kidd said: “We are trying to trace Buddle’s double bass, a valuable instrument which we are sure will have survived the 170 years since his death and hope some publicity might help us find it. Jane said she would love to hear from any readers who might know something of the double bass’s later history or its present whereabouts.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact him by email at david kidd1954@gmail.com

Jane said she had a fantastic day, the highlight of which was a ride on the replica Steam Elephant

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer