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Engraving of Thomas Telford (1757-1834), British civil engineer. Telford was the son of a shepherd, and was first apprenticed to a stonemason. His first job was as a mason in the construction of Somerset House, London. By the age of 30 he was the Surveyor of Public Works for the County of Shropshire. It was at this time that he started building canals, his first being the small Shropshire Canal. He built many famous bridges and aqueducts out of iron and stone, including the UK's largest at Pontcysyllte in Wales (300m long and 33m above ground). His last great canal was the immense Shropshire Union (then called the Birmingham and Liverpool).
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