13 Facts About James Brindley


James Brindley was born in Tunstead, Derbyshire, and lived much of his life in Leek, Staffordshire, becoming one of the most notable engineers of the 18th century.

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James Brindley soon established a reputation for ingenuity and skill at repairing many different kinds of machinery.

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James Brindley's reputation brought him to the attention of the 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, who was looking for a way to improve the transport of coal from his coal mines at Worsley to Manchester.

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However, although James Brindley has often been credited as the genius behind the construction of the canal, it is thought that the main designers were the Duke himself, who had some engineering training, and his land agent and engineer John Gilbert.

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James Brindley was engaged, at the insistence of Gilbert, to assist with particular problems such as the Barton Aqueduct.

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James Brindley preferred to use a circuitous route that avoided embankments, and tunnels rather than cuttings.

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James Brindley's reputation spread rapidly and he was commissioned to construct more canals.

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James Brindley extended the Bridgewater to Runcorn, connecting it to his next major work, the Trent and Mersey Canal.

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James Brindley believed it would be possible to use canals to link the four great rivers of England: the Mersey, Trent, Severn and Thames .

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James Brindley had with him a sketch map of the continuation of the Dee southwards past Whitchurch.

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In total, throughout his life James Brindley built 365 miles of canals and many watermills, including the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, the Coventry Canal, the Oxford Canal and numerous others, and he constructed the watermill at Leek, now the James Brindley Water Museum.

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James Brindley became seriously ill and returned to his home at Turnhurst, Staffordshire, where Erasmus Darwin attended him and discovered that he was suffering from diabetes.

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James Brindley is commemorated in Runcorn by the Brindley Arts Centre, which opened in the autumn of 2004.

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