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 Worsley 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'.