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 Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford

Birth
Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Death 2 Sep 1834 (aged 77)
Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot The nave. The North Ambulatory, Chapel os St.Andrew.
Memorial ID 6165 · View Source
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Industrialist, Civil Engineer. Born on the borders of England and Scotland to John and Janet Jackson Telford. Thomas never knew his shepherd father. He dies when Thomas is only four months. His single mother could not afford to raise him so relatives do. His accomplishments include his early work as surveyor of Shropshire, the county that straddles the English-Welsh border: the bridges over the River Severn at Montford, Buildwas and Bewdley all completed in the 1780's. In 1793, Thomas began work as engineer for the Ellesmere Canal Company, completing his monumental aqueducts that carried the canal over the valleys of the rivers Ceiriog and Dee in North Wales. In 1803 Thomas takes his hard won reputation back to his homeland to work on the massive 60 mile Caledonian Canal. His work in Scotland gives those made homeless by the Highland Clearances a chance to earn a living. However, he’s much criticised for employing Irish workers when the Scottish depart to tend to their harvests. And the project goes over budget and overtime. After a decade, three years longer than scheduled, the canal is completed. But in the fast moving industrial age, steam ships have become common and the canal isn’t big enough to carry them. The canal is a catastrophic commercial failure. It is, however, a superb civil engineering feat that will survive for many centuries. He returns to England to help bring together each of its separate canals in order to create an interconnected super waterway. It will be his last canal and it will be back in Shropshire, the county that will come to count him as one of their own. The aim is to link up all the canal networks from Birmingham to the Ellesmere Port on the Wirral. Ignoring the contours of the land, Telford carves through the countryside creating the shortest route possible. In 1820 he becomes the first President of the newly formed Institution of Civil Engineers. In his lifetime, he has virtually created, and become king of, a new profession. In 1826 he completes the Menai Suspension Bridge in North Wales. It has the longest span in the world and will later be considered one of the greatest examples of iron works ever built. Thomas built over 40 bridges, over a thousand miles of roads, countless canals, churches and harbors. Thomas settles in London, but he never marries. His health fails and before he can see the opening of the country connected canal system, the Shropshire Union, he dies peacefully. He died at the age of 77.

Bio by: Shock


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 23 Aug 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6165
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Telford (9 Aug 1757–2 Sep 1834), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6165, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .