Who was this genius?

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Leonardo da vinci

Audlem and District History Society
History Shorts

It took a while to decide what to write about, but in the end, I chose a person whom everyone will have heard of. Although he never came to Audlem, he played a major part in its canal. He is a person who has touched my life in several ways, but I know little about him.

Forty years ago, my son's teacher asked me to give a talk to his Art group on spinning. I thought I had better do some research and found that the modern spinning wheel — and I am talking about the 15th century! — was designed by the man in question.
When my husband came out of the Navy, where all his time he worked on fixed wing aircraft, he started to work on helicopters. Who designed the helicopter? Again, this man.

Twenty years ago, we decided to live on a narrow boat and cruise the canal system. At the moment, we're living on our boat moored in Audlem. The canals were built to move people and goods up and down the country. Without this man's technical ability, they may not have developed so quickly. He worked out that the V shape of the lock gates was the best way to hold back a great amount of water safely and efficiently.

Most people will have marvelled at this man's drawing ability, how he makes the human body and life so beautiful. If you haven't guessed, the man I have been talking about is Leonardo Da Vinci, born 15th April 1452, near Florence. He spent most of his life in Italy where people marvelled at his technical knowledge. An all-round genius, who has been part of my life, as I am sure he has many others.

Valerie Mackin
March 2020

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