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September 14 @ 2:00 pm

Graft & Glory – ‘Great Lives – John Buddle’ by David Kidd


John Buddle's funeral in 1843 was a massive public event reflecting his status as a celebrity known locally as the...

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John Buddle‘s funeral in 1843 was a massive public event reflecting his status as a celebrity known locally as the King of the Coal Trade. Since that remarkable tribute to his life and work his star has faded somewhat tarnished by the terrible death toll from explosions in the collieries he managed and his apparent advocacy of child labour underground. He remains a shadowy figure in the background of the industrial Revolution in the north whose role as a viewer acting in the interest of landowners like Lord Londonderry perhaps now diminishes his status as an engineer and entrepreneur compared with figures like William Armstrong, and George and Robert Stephenson whose achievements as inventors and industrialists seem much more tangible and easier to understand than Buddle’s work underground. We are fortunate then that as a prolific record keeper and diarist Buddle documented his work and much more besides in great detail and with the benefit of this archive the 250th anniversary of his birth is a good time to reassess his life and understand his achievements and his legacy. As well as an appreciation of his life the talk will be a celebration of his diaries which have many stories to tell about a period of rapid change and a man at the centre of it…

David Kidd was born in South Shields and studied Economic History at Leicester University. He worked for a Bank after leaving school before taking a second degree in Mathematics with the open University and training as a teacher. He taught mathematics and technology in Britain and Africa before retiring. David first came across John Buddle when he was asked to research the history of Jarrow Colliery as part of a project to document the history of all the collieries of South Tyneside and was delighted to discover John Buddle’s Jarrow Place Book (diary). While in Africa he wrote an inadequate and partly inaccurate account of the life and times of John Buddle based on material copied from the diaries which he is now (slowly) revising and updating . David researches, speaks, and writes about local history and his latest book “The People’s Roman Remains Park” written as a collaboration with his friend jean Stokes is an account of the Victorian excavations of the Roman Fort at South Shields. He is also Chairman of the Coble and Keelboat Society, a maritime heritage charity, and manages the Society’s Social Media Accounts as well as editing its newsletter.

Booking information

Each person attending, including adults accompanying children, must have their own ticket.

Tickets are free, but if you would like to make a small donation to support the charitable work of The Common Room, it would be hugely appreciated.

Additional information

Location: The Common Room, Westgate Road, Newcastle NE1 1SE

Children must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult.

About The Common Room

The Common Room is a charity formed in 2017 to restore the Grade II* listed Neville Hall in Newcastle upon Tyne (home to The North of England Institute for Mining and Mechanical Engineers since 1872), and its significant archive and collections documenting centuries of engineering, mining, and wider scientific innovation.

Thanks to National Lottery players, an £8.9m grant has enabled us to spend over £7 million restoring the building, and around £2m to support our running costs, preserve our collections, and to drive our mission: to use our unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers.

Complete with its own café bar, 5|Quarter (opened on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), The Common Room is also available for hire for private events, including conferences, lectures, weddings, and gigs.

Find out more at thecommonroom.org.uk



September 14
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


The Common Room
Westgate Road
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE United Kingdom
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