Thomas Telford

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Thomas Telford (9 August 1757 – 2 September 1834) was a Scottish civil engineer. One of his earliest works can still be seen on the bridge across the River Esk in Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway

From 1787 he designed churches, roads and canals in Shropshire. He built 40 bridges in Shropshire, including major crossings of the Severn at Buildwas, and Bridgnorth. The bridge at Buildwas was Telford's first iron bridge. In 1793 he managed the detailed design and construction of the Ellesmere Canal, to join the ironworks and collieries of Wrexham with Chester, using the existing Chester Canal, and then the River Mersey. This involved the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct over the River Dee in the Vale of Llangollen, where Telford used a new method of construction consisting of troughs made from cast iron plates and fixed in masonry. Running for over 1,000 feet (300 metres) 126 ft (38 m) above the valley floor, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has nineteen arches, each with a 45 ft (14 m) span.[1]

Then he designed lots of projects in his native Scotland, including the building of the Caledonian Canal, as well as harbours and tunnels and some 920 miles (1,480 km) of new roads and over a thousand new bridges in the Highlands of Scotland. He built the Menai Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge at the time. He was called the Colossus of Roads (a pun on the Colossus of Rhodes), and he was elected as the first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, which he held for 14 years until his death.[2]

The town of Telford in Shropshire is named after him.

References[change | change source]

  1. Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  2. Heffer, Simon (2017-01-14). "Colossus of roads: the man whose highways tied Britain together". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2023-03-12.