Having just read the newspaper report of the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, with all of it’s attendant arguments for and against, we wondered whether Thomas Telford had to contend with much opposition when he engineered the London to Holyhead road in 1819.

Telford was a prolific engineer, responsible for over one thousand miles of roads and his major achievement was the road that would link London and Holyhead, the gateway to Ireland, via the Menai Straits and Conwy bridges.

The new high speed rail link is deemed necessary to give fast and reliable connections between the centre of the country and the rest of Europe.

The Holyhead London road was deemed necessary to link London with Ireland in the fastest and most reliable way. In fact Telford managed to reduce the journey time from 36 hours in 1808, to 26 hours 35mins in 1836, an amazing feat!

The road carved it’s way through incredibly difficult and beautiful terrain and required the demolition of ancient and beautiful buildings such as the monastic buildings associated with Shrewsbury Abbey.

Look at the Parliamentary Archives for a great piece about Thomas Telford, Engineer, a colossus of roads.