GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
John Metcalf. Engraving of John Metcalf (1717- 1810), British engineer and road builder. Blinded at the age of 6 by an attack of smallpox, Metcalf had a varied career in his youth. He began planning the construction of a 5 kilometre turnpike (toll-paying) road in Yorkshire in 1765. Successfully completing this, he planned the construction of others, always performing a survey of the route on his own. He constructed roads across marshy areas by using a base of vegetation. During the next 30 years he built 290 kilometres of roads, being paid #65,000 for them and retiring in 1792.
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