TELFORD, fel'ffird, Thomas, Scottish en gineer: b. Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, 9 Aug. 1757; d. Westminster, 2 Sept. 1834. At 14 he was ap prenticed to a mason and on the expiration of his time worked as a journeyman at that trade, but subsequently removed to Edinburgh and there applied himself to the study of architec ture. In 1782 he went to London, where he was befriended by Sir William Pulteney, through whom he was appointed surveyor of the public works in Shropshire. He now be came a civil engineer and in 1793 was entrusted with the construction of the Ellesmere Canal, to connect the Mersey, Dee and Severn. In 1803 and 1804 the Parliamentary commissioners for making roads and building bridges in the Highlands of Scotland, and also for making the Caledonian Canal, appointed him their en gineer. Under the former board 1,200 bridges, two of 150 feet span, were built and 1,000 miles of new road were made; and under the latter board the Caledonian Canal was constructed.
Under other commissioners he built over 30 harbors, some of which, as at Aberdeen and Dundee, are upon an extensive scale. He was also employed in England, superintending the construction of five large bridges over the Severn, of eight canals, and the execution of numerous important works for the metropolis. In 1808 he was employed by the Swedish gov ernment to lay out a system of inland naviga tion through the central parts of Sweden and to form a direct communication by water be tween the North Sea and the Baltic. He also built the road between Warsaw and Brest Sitovski in Poland. The greatest monument of his engineering skill is the Menai Suspension bridge, connecting Caernarvonshire with the island of Anglesea, which was opened on 30 Jan. 1826. In 1828-30 he superintended the drainage of nearly 50,000 acres of the Fen country. He invented the Telford pavement. See ROADS, IMPROVEMENT OF.