An uneducated Dumfriesshire stonemason who went on to become a
giant of the Industrial Revolution. His first break was landing
an important surveying job in
Shropshire, where his designs for canal aqueducts were innovative.
Government road- and bridge-building schemes in the Highlands
followed, while work in England and Europe also helped make
his reputation as the foremost civil engineer of his day, earning
him the nickname, the Colossus of Roads. One of
his most famous structures is the Menai Bridge at Anglesey,
one of the few in Britain to use the suspension principle. Despite
his success he was never personally wealthy, choosing projects
which were in the public, rather than his own, interest.