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Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford, architect and civil engineer, was born in Dumfriesshire as a son of a shephard. While Telford remained in Scotland he was involved in the building of New Town, Edinburgh. In 1782 Telford moved to London where he became a journeyman mason at Somerset House. From 1784 he was engaged with the creation of the Commissioner's House and Ports Dock to the designs of Samuel Wyatt. Soon after the completeion of the house in 1786, Telford removed to Shrewsbury where he made improvements to the castle for William Pultenay. Whilst living in the city Thomas Telford gained a reputation as a mason through his work on other buildings in the town. His most important work was the Neo-Classical church at Bridgnorth which conveyed rational simplicity.

In 1788, Telford became the surveyor of bridges for the county of Shropshire and was responsible for over one thousand bridges that featured one arch or more. Following this part of his career, he went on to be come a well-known road builder, canal maker, and drainer of fens.


Colvin, H (1995) A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects: 1600-1840, Third Edition (Yale University Press: New Haven) pp. 969

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