Gavin Weightman

Roads to Glory

Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain


Bloomsbury 416pp £25 order from our bookshop

In Man of Iron, his affectionate life of the Scottish engineer Thomas Telford, Julian Glover seeks a guiding hand and spiritual companion to his own endeavours as a promoter of more efficient transport and cutter of red tape. Glover, a former speechwriter for David Cameron, was a political adviser on the High Speed Two (HS2) project and reckons Telford ‘would have understood the dilemmas, insisted on innovation and elegant design and known how to work the parliamentary system’. Whereas HS2 is Glover’s great project, Telford’s was the new road to Holyhead and the bridge over the Menai Strait. Never the twain shall meet.

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