James Brindley was of humble birth, from a remote part of Britain, and received little or no education. Yet by sheer innate ability, he rose to be consulted and admired by the highest in the land. His first achievements were in harnessing wind and water to grind corn, to grind the flints needed in ever increasing quantities in the pottery industry and to drain mines. He also successfully constructed steam engines for the latter purpose. The turning point came when he joined the duke of Bridgewater and John Gilbert in constructing the Worlsey Canal to Manchester, Britain's first arterial canal. Its resounding success led to the construction of four thousand miles of inland waterways, largely by James Brindley, assistants trained by him and their successors, so that every town of size was on or near to a canal. James Brindley well deserved the title of 'Father of the British Waterways'.
Bradnop near Leek, James Brindley being one of the few men from thearea to achieve more than local fame, it was natural that Harold Bode, headmaster of Bradnop Parochial School, should become interested in this remarkable man. In 1963 a few enthusiasts, icnluding the author, set up the Caldon Canal Committee, now the Caldon Canal Society. In 1968 he started the agitation which led to Brindley Mill Preservation Trust, establish to restore the Leek Mill as a memorial to the great engineer. In 1972, bicentenary of James Brindley's death, harold Bode had the satisfaction of seeing the corn-mill taken over by the Trust and restoration started in earnest.
Early life, 1716-1752; In business; The Bridgewater Canal; The Grand Cross; The principal events of Brindley's life, Where to see Brindley's works.