Thomas Telford FRS, Scottish civil engineer, c 1805.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving with Telford's signature. The Scottish engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) was responsible for some of the finest feats of civil engineering in the early 19th century. His Caledonian Canal was constructed between 1803-1823, and the remarkable Menai Suspension Bridge, spanning 579 feet (174 metres) followed in 1819-1826. He was also responsible for St Katherine's Docks in London, 1824-1828, and for draining large tracts of the Fen country. Telford was also an important road builder. He rebuilt the Shrewsbury to Holyhead road and the North Wales coast road between Chester and Bangor. In 1820, he became the first president of the Engineers' Institute.