THOMAS TELFORD: Master Builder of Roads and Canals

THOMAS TELFORD: Master Builder of Roads and Canals

ANTHONY BURTON    Book Number: 87216    Product format: Hardback

Thomas Telford, the "Colossus of Roads", grew up in remote Eskdale but had the good fortune to be apprenticed to the Duke of Buccleuch as a mason on his estate at Langholm. The Duke was an "improver" of the late 18th century, seeking to use new materials and techniques to develop the landscape and its communications. Telford's mason's mark can be seen on the bridge at Langholm, and his expertly executed lettering is on local gravestones. In 1782 the self-taught young man set off for London where he would make his name as an engineer of bridges, canals and roads throughout the country. Work on Somerset House was a prestigious project and he also made the acquaintance of architects such as Adam and Wyatt, leading to his appointment as Surveyor of Shrewsbury Castle. The first of his many bridges in Shropshire was over the Severn at Montford, and he was soon appointed to the Ellesmere Canal, giving the world a series of beautiful aqueducts, notably the one at Chirk immortalised in watercolour by Cotman. The Caledonian Canal creating a navigational passage through Scotland was the first Telford saw through from its earliest stages, and the Gotha Canal in Sweden followed. The Holyhead Road, which included the important Menai Suspension Bridge, brought him head to head with Macadam on the subject of road surfacing, and there was also conflict when Telford was involved in setting up the Institution of Civil Engineers. A fascinating study of the engineer and man. 232pp, black and white photos.
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ISBN 9781473843714
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