James Brindley, an English mechanic and engineer, born in Derbyshire in 1716, died at Turnhurst, Sept. 27, 1772. He was apprenticed to a millwright at the age of 17. After entering upon business he devised in 1752 an improved water engine for draining the coal mines at Clifton. In 1755 he built the machinery for a silk mill at Congleton. His reputation recommended him to the duke of Bridge-water, who employed him to construct a canal from his estate at Worsley across the river Ir-well to Manchester; in 1761 he completed this watercourse, the first of the kind in England; it had no locks, and was in some parts a subterraneous tunnel and in others an elevated aqueduct. He revived the idea of canal communication across the country by uniting the rivers Mersey and Trent, and tunnelled the Harecastle hill, which had before been deemed an insurmountable obstacle. This tunnel is 2,280 yards in length, and 70 yards below the surface. It was begun in 1766, and finished after Brindley's death by his brother-in-law, Mr. Henshall, in 1777. He superintended the construction of the Coventry and Oxford canals, by means of which, together with the Mersey and Trent canal, he connected the Thames, Humber, Severn, and Mersey. His education was very meagre.
It was his custom" when perplexed with any extraordinary difficulty to retire to bed, and lie there sometimes for two or three days till his plan was clear.