The son of a shepherd, Thomas Telford was born in Westerkirk, Scotland in 1757. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a stonemason. He worked for a time in Edinburgh and in 1782 he moved to London. By this time, Telford had established a good reputation as an engineer and in 1790 was given the task of building a bridge over the River Severn at Montford. This was followed by a canal that linked the ironworks and collieries of Wrexham with Chester and Shrewsbury. On the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Telford used a new method of construction consisting of troughs made from cast-iron plates and fixed in masonry. With the success of these structures, Telford began his rise to fame that eventually made him one of the greatest engineers in Victorian Britain. His bridges, aqueducts, roads, and canals combined aesthetic grace with brilliant engineering, and perhaps no other single individual contributed more to making Britain the "workshop of the world."
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London and Portsmouth
The Shrewsbury Days
Stream in the Sky The Ellesmere Canal
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