BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in June 2009We've left it here for reference.More information

25 July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage


Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 

History

You are in: Tayside and Central Scotland > People & Places > History > Thomas Telford

Dunkeld Bridge. Photo courtesy of Perth and Kinross Council

Thomas Telford

We examine the legacy of Scottish engineer and architect Thomas Telford and take a look at some of his works.

Thomas Telford, regarded as one of Scotland's greatest engineers, was born in Glendinning in Dumfries and Galloway in 1757. He began his working life as a stonemason, moving to London where his works included Somerset House.

William Pulteney, whom Telford had known as a child, secured Telford a job as  surveyor of public works in Shropshire. This involved civil engineering, then in its infancy, as well as architectural skills.  Telford approached both with relish, designing and engineering many works in Shropshire including his first iron bridge.

 In 1793 he was appointed engineer for the Ellesmere Canal, one of his most famous engineering feats, involving the construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct for the transportation of canal traffic high above the land. Telford is now regarded as an honourable Salopian and the town of Telford was named after him.

Telford was a prolific worker undertaking grand works in Shropshire, Wales, London and abroad. He designed and engineered roads, bridges, harbours and other structures across Scotland helping pull the country into the modern industrial age and giving those dispossessed by the Highland Clearances a reason to work and stay in Scotland.

A boat approaching Cullochy Lock, Caledonian Canal

A boat approaching Cullochy Lock, Caledonian Canal

One of his great achievements in Scotland was the design and engineering of the Caledonian Canal. The canal took ten years to complete and its practical use was eclipsed with the advent of the age of steam.

Extracts from a BBC Scotland documentary 'Thomas Telford: The Man who Built Britain' first transmitted in 2007. These extracts show the wide range of Telford's engineering and design work.

Thomas Telford: The Man who Built Britain

Extracts from a BBC Scotland documentary first transmitted in 2007. These show the wide range of Telford's work.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions.

Telford died in 1834, having completely transformed the face of Britain and leaving a lasting legacy to the then fledgling profession of civil engineering. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

last updated: 08/06/2009 at 16:25
created: 27/03/2009

You are in: Tayside and Central Scotland > People & Places > History > Thomas Telford



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy