John Buddle was born at West Kyo, near Lanchester, County Durham, on 15 September 1773 and died at Wallsend on 10 October 1843. He followed his father into the profession of colliery viewer, a calling which he helped to develop into the modern concept of mining engineer. He succeeded his father as manager at Wallsend Colliery in 1806 and introduced the safety lamp invented by Humphry Davy there. One of his major works was the construction of Seaham Harbour.
He worked closely with William Chapman and recent research by Guy Early Railways 1 p. 117 et seq , but especially p. 132 et seq and Rees (page 145 et seq) has shown that both Buddle and Chapman were far more inflential in early locomotive development (notably the Steam Elephant at Wallsend) than had been appreciated earlier. ODNB biography by H.J. Heesom.
Winifred Stokes in Early Railways 3 notes the importance of Buddle as a colliery viewer in developing steam locomotion. He was also in introducing steam traction on Cape Breton Island: see Herb MacDonasld in Early Railways 3..