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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
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.
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