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21 October 2019: Roy Murphy – James Brindley – the first canal engineer

Bridgewater Canal

James Brindley (1716-1772) was one of the early canal engineers who worked on some of the first canals of the modern era. He played an essential role in shaping the way canals were built during the Industrial Revolution. His engineering skills were mostly self-taught, often through trial and error. His first experience of canal building came when the Duke of Bridgwater wanted a canal to connect his mines in Worsley to the trading centre of Manchester. Brindley, of humble origins, was a millwright by training. He went on to act as senior engineer on the Trent and Mersey Canal. When his fame spread he then became involved, in some capacity, in work on 363 other canal projects! In October Roy Murphy will examine, the life of and the challenges faced by Brindley and his solutions. Brindley’s legacy survives today.

above: Bridgewater Canal