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Celebrating The 250TH Anniversary of Thomas Telford

2007 saw the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Thomas Telford. Telford was born in the Parish of Westerkirk to the north of Langholm. The Langholm and Westerkirk Thomas Telford Anniversary Group and members of the communities of Langholm and Westerkirk marked the anniversary in a number of ways. A Thomas Telford Trail was created which takes visitors around the local places of interest relating to Thomas Telford. The group inaugurated a cairn at Glendinning, launched the trail and held birthday celebrations on 9 August 2007, Thomas Telford’s birth date. At the same time the Institution of Civil Engineers unveiled a plaque in memory of Thomas Telford at Glendinning. You can read about the trail and the events that took place in 2007 on this website.

‘I still recollect with pride and pleasure
my native parish of Westerkirk’

Westerkirk (Eskdale)

The son of a shepherd, Thomas Telford was born on 9 August 1757 at Glendinning in the Parish of Westerkirk. Thomas Telford became an apprentice stonemason locally and worked on the construction of the Langholm Bridge and the new town of Langholm. Telford’s career took him to Edinburgh where he studied architecture and then to London and Shrewsbury. He became known as Britain’s greatest ever civil engineer and in 1820 Thomas Telford was appointed the first President of the recently-formed Institution of Civil Engineers, a post he held until his death.

Thomas Telford was involved in the design and building of roads, bridges, canals, harbours, churches, and public buildings throughout the United Kingdom. He designed the Gotha Canal in Sweden and the Menai Suspension Bridge. Telford carried out a huge body of work in Shropshire and in the Highlands of Scotland.

The town of Telford in Shropshire is named after Thomas Telford and also the borough formerly called Hendrick’s Blacksmith in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The latter changed its name to Telford in 1857, after the North Pennsylvania Railroad Company named its new station there "Telford" in honour of Thomas Telford.

Thomas Telford died in 1834 and is buried in Westminster Abbey in London. Thomas Telford had a great affection for Eskdale and its people throughout his life and left legacies to the two local libraries at Westerkirk and Langholm

Rennaldburn is listed in Colin Bett's book on the local history of Eskdalemuir as Thomas Telford's first house he built under supervision as a teenager.

Langholm Bridge

The generous support of all involved with this project is gratefully acknowledged.

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