MAN OF IRON
Waterway enthusiasts know Thomas Telford for his Caledonian, Macclesfield and Shropshire Union canals, and his contribution (sometimes the subject of great debate) to the building of the Pontcysyllte aqueduct. But although Telford worked on 17 canals, that was just one part of a career which also involved 37 docks and harbours, 35 churches, and well over 1,000 miles of roads. However, this biography doesn’t just recount his many engineering achievements. It does its best to understand the character of Telford: a poor Scots shepherd boy who became an engineering giant; a driven and restless man always moving on to his next project; a cheerful and generous benefactor; a supporter of metrication; and even a writer of poetry.
Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain, Julian Glover, Bloomsbury, bloomsbury.com, £20, 978-1-4088-3746-7