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Telford's Welsh wizardry kicks off rst president's party season

ICE news

WALES WILL be celebrating Thomas Telford's 250th birthday this summer with tours of his achievements and an international conference on his legacy.

ICE Wales and Prosiect Menai - the Menai Bridge Community Heritage Trust - have organised the events to honour the first president of the ICE.

An international conference, The Telford Legacy in north Wales, takes place at Bangor University on 9 and 10 July.

There will be opportunities to see the Trust's significant collection of Menai Bridge artefacts - some from the original bridge and some from the 1938-40 refurbishment work - as well as items from Britannia Bridge by Robert Stephenson (1850) and an exhibition of the commercial and social history of the area.

It will include papers on all of Telford's works in north Wales, on his work in Ireland, on Telford's life, papers by the University on the geological history of the area, particularly the Menai Strait, and a paper on the story of crossing the Straits before the bridge was built.

On 11 and 12 July there will be visits to sites including Pontcysyllte, Telford's workshops in Ellesmere, Conwy Bridge, Menai Bridge, Holyhead Port and Stanley Embankment.

Born in 1757, Telford became the most prolific and wellrespected civil engineer of his age. But it's his contributions to the Welsh infrastructure that will be discussed at the conference.

For a period of 20 years, in addition to the Menai Bridge, he worked on projects including the Ellesmere and Llangollen canals, building aqueducts at Chirk (1801) and Pontcysyllte (1805).

Recently Pontcysyllte was shortlisted for World Heritage Site status and a nal decision on its application is expected in 2007.

'Although many people know that Telford was responsible for the road from London to Holyhead, Menai Suspension Bridge and Conwy Suspension Bridge, not so many know that he also surveyed around 450 miles of roads in South Wales for the Government between 1823 and 1825, ' said organiser Bob Daimond.

elford was appointed to build a new road from Shrewsbury to Holyhead in 1815.

It was a signicant undertaking with a number of different structures including Waterloo Bridge in Betws y Coed (1816), Menai Suspension Bridge (1826) and the Stanley Embankment near Holyhead, ' Daimond added.

Telford was invited to become the first President of the ICE in 1820, a title he retained until his death in 1834.

For more information contact Bob Daimond (01248) 712217

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