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Biography of the innovative engineer Thomas Telford. Born in the Scottish Borders in 1757, the son of a shepherd, his prodigious work set the stage for the Industrial Revolution.

The first full modern biography of Thomas Telford: a shepherd's son, who revolutionised British engineering and set the stage for the Industrial Revolution.

Born in the Scottish Borders in 1757, Telford's beginnings were not auspicious. But he gained a fine education in his village school and, in that egalitarian time and place, mixed there with children from all different classes. Indeed, contacts from his schooldays played a key role in helping him to become established as one of Britain's leading engineers.

After completing his apprenticeship to a stonemason in Langholm, Telford left for London in 1782 with letters of introduction to the two leading architects of the day: Robert Adam and William Chambers. But success eluded him in the metropolis - instead, he found it in Shropshire, thanks to another Borders' contact, Sir William Pulteney, who invited him to work on the reconstruction of Shrewsbury Castle. This led on to his appointment as county surveyor and soon Telford was working on a huge number of public and private properties.

Reader: Robin Laing

Writer: Julian Glover

Abridger: David Jackson Young

Producer: Kirsteen Cameron.

15 minutes

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