born 9th August 1757, Glendinning (farm), Westerkirk, Dumfriesshire
died 2nd September 1834, 24 Abingdon Street, London
buried Westminster Abbey (beside Robert Stephenson)
Written by Mary Wessel, edited by Jane Joyce
Thomas Telford, first president of the UK's Institution of Civil Engineers, worked on a dizzying and diverse number of projects throughout his lifetime. He is considered to be one of the great civil engineers of all time.
Skilled first as a stonemason, then as an architect and civil engineer, he designed groundbreaking massive structures such as the Caledonian Canal
and the suspension bridges at Menai
and a multitude of smaller ones, from churches to aqueducts.
His astonishing output ranged from dockyards to fen drainage, road construction to iron bridge building. Telford worked right into his final years and never tired of taking on new engineering challenges.
Born into a poor rural community, Telford maintained links to his native Scotland, both personally and professionally. He transformed the communication networks across the Scottish highlands. An affable personality, he didn't marry but did develop lifelong friendships, and became a trusted and inspirational mentor to the next generation of young engineers.
painting of Brunel
courtesy Institution of Civil Engineers