James Brindley (and the building of the Trent & Mersey Canal) by Duncan Bourne As you glide along the gentle flow of the inland waterway I’ll sing of the man who built the canals and how they came to be James Brindley was that engineer, most noted for his skill The man who’s marvelous schemes, they said, made water flow up hill, Up hill, Made water flow up hill Now in those days the packhorse roads through England were a chore A third of goods were smashed or lost through potholes, ruts and more Josiah Wedgwood, master potter, said, “We need a plan” “and I believe, from what I’ve seen, James Brindley is our man” (repeat) A channel 3 x 12 would be the basis of the scheme To link the Trent and Mersey was the engineer’s dream With 35 locks to Runcorn Gap and 40 to Shardlow And a mile long tunnel at Harecastle to facilitate the flow Mr B with chalk and cheese outlined all his plans Surveying every inch of it up and down the land Folk would cry’ “The canal it leaks! Our work is all in vain!” “Then puddle it,” James Brindley answered. “Puddle it again!” For 11 years the navigators they worked awful hard Round the hills and under hills they fought for every yard Puddling clay to pave the way for aqueducts and locks So narrowboats could sail their wares straight to the Liverpool docks The docks, straight to the Liverpool docks Alas our great James Brindley near Ipstones got soaked through He caught a chill and passed away in 1772 In life he achieved many things a credit to his name But his work on our canals has earned him lasting fame My thanks go to Duncan Bourne for permission to use these lyrics and video. Duncan's web-site can be found here.
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