The land of scientists and engineers

Posted by Tory Historian Saturday, August 09, 2008 ,

Yet more apologies for a prolonged silence. Other matters have intruded.

Today we should turn our attention to those astonishing people, the scientists and engineers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century; the people who made this country truly great.

The reason for that is because August 9 is the anniversary of the birth of Scottish engineer, architect and stonemason, Thomas Telford. The son of a shepherd, who died soon after his birth, he was apprenticed to a stonemason at the age of 14 and was largely self-taught.

The list of his achievements make one feel rather dizzy. He built important roads, canals and bridges in England, Wales and Scotland. He was called the “Colossus of Roads” by his great friend, the poet Southey, one the Lake Poets in his early life and a Poet Laureate later on. Presumably, the idea of two cultures simply did not occur to these people.

When you have read Thomas Telford’s biography have a look at the list of the Men of Science Alive in 1807 - 08, pictured in the group portrait above.

This is a posting that celebrates great people so there will be no moaning and tearing out of hair because these days our universities and firms find it hard to recruit British students who could get anywhere near studying or practising science and engineering.

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