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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Telford's 250-year legacy marked
Menai Bridge (Picture: Jerry Armitage)
The Menai bridge had to be high enough for ships to pass under
Celebrations are planned to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of engineer Thomas Telford.

Starting on Monday an international two-day conference takes place at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Recognised as one of the greatest British civil engineers, Telford's bridges and aqueducts are still in use.

His creations - the Menai and Conwy suspension bridges and the aqueducts of Chirk and Pontcysyllte - are credited with transforming life in north Wales.

Bob Daimond, who is involved with the organisation of the conference, described Telford's legacy as "great".

"Pontcysyllte was a groundbreaker, it's still the highest navigable aqueduct in the world as far as we know," he said. "It also carries a water supply to parts of Cheshire."

"He was the first president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), he got it its royal charter and encouraged it over the first 14 years of its life."

Thomas Telford
Thomas Telford, a Scot, was born in Westerkirk in 1757

Many of Telford's works, such as the Waterloo bridge in Betws y Coed, the A5 London to Holyhead road and the roads at Penmaenmawr and Penmaenbach are all in constant use.

The Menai suspension bridge was built by Telford in 1826, with the admiralty insisting it had to be high enough for ships to pass underneath.

Mr Daimond believes that Telford's legacy was greater than his more recognised contemporary, Brunel.

"I think Thomas Telford's output overall is so much more meaningful than Brunel's. Telford contributed an awful lot to the history of civil engineering."

The Menai Bridge Community Heritage Trust will be hosting events during July and August.

These include a travelling exhibition depicting Telford's life and work which will visit Edinburgh, London, Ironbridge Gorge Museum and the Menai Bridge area.

An ongoing education programme for schools and further education institutions will be set up including a presence at the Wrexham Science Fair.

The north Wales branch of ICE will commemorate Telford's actual birthday on 9 August with ceremonies centred round the Menai Suspension Bridge.

Celebrations will also take place in Scotland, Telford's birthplace, in Shropshire where Telford undertook his first major canal-building project.

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09 Apr 03 |  North West Wales


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