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Thomas Telford

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Thomas Telford
Craigellachie Bridge by Telford
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Born:   9/8/1757
Died:   2/9/1834
Operated:   Across UK

Thomas Telford was one of Britain's most famous engineers, born on 9 August 1757 in Glendinning (near Langholm).


A self-taught engineer, he built a vast array of projects. His most famous work is the Menai Suspension Bridge in Wales, through which he rebuilt various sections of the LondonHolyhead Road (now mostly A5, A45, A41 and A464). Another one of his works is the old A74 in the Southern Uplands. Although a lot of it became D2 with the 1960s dualling works, it was the main way to get to Glasgow before the opening of what is now the West Coast Mainline railway in the 1850s, and later the opening of the A74(M). The bridge over the River Clyde near Crawford was adapted to D2. He also built the main road around the Isle of Arran (numbered A841), and oversaw the construction of a great number of roads in the Highlands of Scotland.


Apart from the Menai Suspension Bridge, he built hundreds of bridges all over Britain. One is the Conwy Suspension Bridge which opened at the same time as the Menai Bridge. Waterloo Bridge in Betws-y-Coed was an iron bridge built by him. There is also the circular-arch road bridge in Bannockburn and a stone bridge at Tongueland in Kirkcudbrightshire which opened in 1806. During the completion phase for the design for the new London Bridge, Telford submitted a design. This was rejected in 1824 in favour of a design by John Rennie. Telford was the main judge for the completion of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and rejected all the projected designs, including that of the eventual winner Isambard Kingdom Brunel. His own design was also rejected by the Bristol board.

A selection of Telford's more noteworthy bridges are below:

Image Name Classified Road(s) Date More Info Map
A5menai.jpg Menai Suspension Bridge A5 1826
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Crglche-br1.jpg Carigellachie Bridge former A941 1814 First of several bridges of a similar design, and the only one still standing in the Scottish Highlands
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Struy-br1.jpg Struy Bridge A831 1817
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A5 - Waterloo Bridge - Coppermine - 3074.jpg Waterloo Bridge, Betws-y-Coed A5 1815
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Spean-br1.jpg Spean Bridge A82 1819 Widened in 1932 when the A82 was upgraded
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A9-mound2.jpg The Mound A9 1816 The bridge was fitted with sluice gates in order to reclaim a vast amount of tidal marsh for agriculture; the gates are still in use.
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List of Crossings

Crossing On Road Opening Date
Achingale Bridge A882 1819
Alness Bridge B817
Altnaharra Bridge A836
Auchenbreck Bridge A886
Avon Bridge (Hamilton) A72 C16th, 1825
Bannockburn Bridge A9
Beattock Bridge A701
Berriedale Bridge A9 1815, 1963
Bewdley Bridge B4190
Borve Bridge A857
Bridge of Alford A944 1811
Bridge of Don A956
Bridge of Keig B992 1817
Bridge of Mucomir B8004
Bridge of Reisgill A99 1815, 1970
Bridge of Wester A99 1835, 1994
Carloway Bridge A858
Ceannacroc Bridge A887
Chia Aig Bridge B8005
Clauchan Bridge B880
Conon Bridge A862
Contin Bridge A835
Pont Conwy A547
Craigellachie Bridge A941
Crask Bridge A836
Croe Bridge
Dalchork Bridge A836
Dalnavaid Bridge A924
Dalneich Bridge B9176
Drochaid a Chadha A896
Dunans Bridge A886
Dunbeath Bridge A9
Dunkeld Bridge A923 1809
Eas-nan-Arm Bridge A87
Evelix Bridge A9
Helmsdale Bridge A9
Holt Bridge A4133
Inchkinloch Bridge A836
Invergarry Bridge A82
Invermoriston Bridge A82
Kiachnish Bridge A82
Kinlochmoidart Bridge A861
Latheronwheel Bridge A9
Logie Bridge A939 1816
Lovat Bridge A862
Loy Bridge B8004
Lynwilg Bridge B9152
Mein Bridge
Menai Suspension Bridge A5 1826
Moniack Bridge A862
Montford Bridge B4380
Moy Bridge (Loch Laggan) A86
Mythe Bridge A438
Nethy Bridge B970
Nevis Bridge A82
Over Bridge A40
Pathhead Bridge A68
Potarch Bridge
Resipole Bridge A861
Rhian Bridge A836
Rosskeen Bridge B817
Sallachan Bridge A861
Sark Bridge B7076
Shiel Bridge (Acharacle) A861
Shiel Bridge (Kintail) A87
Silver Bridge (Garve) A835
Skippers Bridge A7
Spean Bridge A82
Fochabers Bridge A96
Strathrory Bridge B9176
Struy Bridge A831
The Mound A9
Threave Bridge A75 1825, 1987
Tongland Bridge A711
Tornapress Bridge A896
Vagastie Bridge A836
Waterloo Bridge (Caernarfonshire) A5
White Bridge (Strathfillan) A82

Death and Honours

Telford died on the 2 September 1834, and the New Town of Telford is named in his honour. A Telford in Pennsylvania is named after him, and so is Edinburgh's Telford College.

Thomas Telford
Achingale Bridge • Alness Bridge • Altnaharra Bridge • Auchenbreck Bridge • Avon Bridge (Hamilton) • Bannockburn Bridge • Beattock Bridge • Berriedale Bridge • Bewdley Bridge • Borve Bridge • Bridge of Alford • Bridge of Don • Bridge of Keig • Bridge of Mucomir • Bridge of Reisgill • Bridge of Wester • Carloway Bridge • Ceannacroc Bridge • Chia Aig Bridge • Clauchan Bridge • Conon Bridge • Contin Bridge • Pont Conwy • Craigellachie Bridge • Crask Bridge • Croe Bridge • Dalchork Bridge • Dalnavaid Bridge • Dalneich Bridge • Drochaid a Chadha • Dunans Bridge • Dunbeath Bridge • Dunkeld Bridge • Eas-nan-Arm Bridge • Evelix Bridge • Helmsdale Bridge • Holt Bridge • Inchkinloch Bridge • Invergarry Bridge • Invermoriston Bridge • Kiachnish Bridge • Kinlochmoidart Bridge • Latheronwheel Bridge • Logie Bridge • Lovat Bridge • Loy Bridge • Lynwilg Bridge • Mein Bridge • Menai Suspension Bridge • Moniack Bridge • Montford Bridge • Moy Bridge (Loch Laggan) • Mythe Bridge • Nethy Bridge • Nevis Bridge • Over Bridge • Pathhead Bridge • Potarch Bridge • Resipole Bridge • Rhian Bridge • Rosskeen Bridge • Sallachan Bridge • Sark Bridge • Shiel Bridge (Acharacle) • Shiel Bridge (Kintail) • Silver Bridge (Garve) • Skippers Bridge • Spean Bridge • Fochabers Bridge • Strathrory Bridge • Struy Bridge • The Mound • Threave Bridge • Tongland Bridge • Tornapress Bridge • Vagastie Bridge • Waterloo Bridge (Caernarfonshire) • White Bridge (Strathfillan)
Road and Bridge Builders
pre-Victorian EngineersMajor William Caulfeild • Abraham Darby • John McAdam • Robert Mylne • John Rennie • John Smeaton • Thomas Telford • General George Wade
Victorian EngineersIsambard Kingdom Brunel • Joseph Mitchell
20th Century EngineersOwen Williams
Engineering CompaniesCleveland Bridge Company • Fairhurst Engineering • Stevenson Family

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