James Brindley was born near
Buxton in Derbyshire in 1716. He is famous for his canal building and the
construction of the first major English canal.
Brindley became an
apprentice millwright at the age of seventeen. He quickly established himself as
a competent engineer, having improved the performance of the steam engine and
draining of the Clifton coal mines.
By the age of twenty six he
had founded his own business. His work in constructing mills and with steam
engines led him on to work as a canal engineer. After work on the surveying and
construction of various canals he became responsible for the construction of the
Bridgewater canal which was completed in 1765. This can be considered the
beginning of the great age of canals in the United Kingdom.
James Brindley was
responsible for a network of canals totalling 375 miles. The importance of the
canal network should not be underestimated. The canals allowed coal and
manufactured goods to move around the country much more efficiently and more
cost effectively. The canals were responsible for speeding up the Industrial
Revolution. Brindleyplace in Birmingham is dedicated to his memory and his
contribution to the canal network in the city.
James Brindley died in 1772
suffering from diabetes. The cause of his death is also attributed to overwork.
This dedicated and innovative pioneer of the canals left his mark on the
landscape for centuries to come.