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Writing competition for Telford's 250th

ICE news

THOMAS TELFORD history buffs and creative writing enthusiasts will gather at the Building Centre next week to hear who has won the Telford 250 Writing challenge.

The competition was organised by NCE and website www. engineering-timelines. com and challenged the engineering community to write about any aspect of Thomas Telford's life or work as part of the celebrations of his 250th anniversary.

The judges - ICE head of knowledge Mike Chrimes, Whitby Bird director and engineering-timelines. com founder Mark Whitby and NCE editor Antony Oliver - were locked in debate during a marathon judging session as they whittled down the entries to ten finalists.

Their favourite, along with two other runners up will be named and celebrated at a special reception on Thursday 29 March at the Building Centre in London.

The winner will pick up £250 and the work will be published in NCE and on the engineeringtimelines. com website and further commissions could follow.

The runners up will receive £50 prizes and will have their work published.

Commenting on the entries, Mark Whitby said: 'Understanding and celebrating our engineering history is vital and I am thrilled that so many enthusiasts of engineering took up this opportunity.' Whitby will host the reception next week, which will also mark the 20th anniversary of the Engineering Club. It has held more than 50 lectures by speakers including Sir Clive Sinclair, Sir Alan Harris, Trevor Bayliss, and Mike Burrows.

The evening is open to all. For a ticket email clare@engineeringtimelines. com or call Clare Simms on 020 7631 5291.

The finalists:

Simon Berry Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Catherine Bottoms Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Bob Diamond Menai Suspension Bridge Robert Freer Thomas Telford: a public private partnership pioneer Philip Garrison Pontcysyllte Aqueduct David Gent Thomas Telford's life Robert Hodgson The English Channels Ship Canal Jack McBride Menai Suspension Bridge Chris Morris The Holyhead Road A F Skelsey Severn Bridge, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire The Road to Holyhead Clip-clop, clip-clop, the horses hooves the London coach to Holyhead By winding road, the gradients steep the horses toiled till they dropped dead And when the coach reached Bengor Town the mail was then transferred to ship But when the gales blew down the Menai Straits they had to wait to make the trip So mail would sit on Bangor Quay till weather let it cross the Straits On Anglesey the narrow track wound round the hills between toll gates The passengers from London Town and all of the official mail Took days, or weeks, to cross the sea how could they tweek the horse's tail?

The Prince Regent sat on the throne with Waterloo well won Still coaches crawled to Holyhead and something needed to be done The Postmaster decided that a study of the route be made So twenty thousand pounds they found for Thomas Telford to be paid He surveyed all along the route - a detailed scheme to his design They settled with the Turnpike Trusts and all agreed the new road line Two seventy miles of road to build through Midlands plains, past Snowdon's mount With seven years to do the work and many problems to surmount The hand pitched stones to form the base the gravel topping with crossfall New drainage all along the route new pipes and bridges to install The gradients reduced to give no more than one in thirty slope The sharpest bends to straighten out the teams of horses now could cope But - when they reached the Menai Straits they needed a suspension bridge Do not impede the tidal flow build piers with secure anchorage Problems galore, but need was great and Thomas Telford knew the way His bridge was built with record span to cross the Straits without delay Main span nigh on six hundred feet wrought iron forged to bear the load In eighteen twenties what a feat the last link on the London road One twenty thousand pounds it cost to carry all the Irish mail But - it still stands until this day - we trust that it will never fail So let's thank Thomas Telford for the main road built to Holyhead And though mail coaches have long gone we've traffic jams? and queues instead www. engineering-timelines. com Engineering Timelines produces an interactive website that offers users a dynamic perspective on engineering in the UK. The site clusters information around a range of themes: a period in history, a type of structure, or a notable engineer.

This is a resource suitable for students, engineering enthusiasts, and anyone who cares about engineering.

Visit www. engineering-timelines. com to find out more.

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