ISSUE 23, October 2007

Editorial
Quarterly Communication: Speech of the Pro Grand Master : Quarterly Communication
Grand Secretary: Exciting times ahead
Historic: Telford - Mason extraordinary
Travel: Cruising round Sicily
Samaritan: Helping the distressed
Younger Masons: The common bond
Jersey: Local Masons guard the Duke
   Classic car run: Down memory lane
International: Joseph Brant - a Masonic legend
Universities Scheme: The way ahead
Grand Chancellor: The importance of external relations
Education: Events : Understanding the symbols of the craft
Specialist Lodges: Australia link
Royal Arch: Why join the Royal Arch?
Lbrary & Museum: Major award for Library & Museum
MQ Signs off
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity : NMSF : RMBI : RMTGB
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Armed with letters of introduction from friends back in Langholm, he was introduced to two of the greatest architects of the day – Robert Adam and Sir William Chambers.
     Telford was set to work on the new Somerset House, squaring and levelling the great blocks of the rusticated Portland stone. It was during this time that he qualified as a Master Mason – in the operative sense.
     Through his contacts he became acquainted with William Pulteney, who through marriage had succeeded to great estates in Somerset, Shropshire and Northamptonshire.
     They became firm friends and many commissions resulted from this friendship, such as alterations at the vicarage of Sudborough in Northamptonshire, followed by building at Portsmouth dockyard.
     By 1786 Pultney had become MP for Shrewsbury, so Telford found himself ordered to the town to superintend a thorough renovation of the castle, where living quarters were found for him. Within six months, and probably due to the influence of the local MP, he was appointed the Surveyor of Public Works for the County of Shropshire. Soon after his appointment he was to supervise the construction of the county gaol and the alterations to the old Salop Infirmary.
     The prison is still in use at the Dana, and the front entrance particularly has been little altered from Telford’s original design. The bust of John Howard, the prison reformer, who was instrumental in getting Telford the commission, is in prominent position directly above the main entrance. Telford also designed and supervised the building of the Laura Tower at Shrewsbury Castle and the excavation of the Roman City of Uricronium near Wroxeter was another of his undertakings.
     It was around this time that he was consulted by the churchwardens of St. Chad’s Church about the repairs to the church roof. After an inspection of the premises he told them that it was pointless thinking of repairing the roof until emergency measures were taken to secure the walls due to poor foundations.
     He was scoffed at and dismissed out of hand, the churchwardens making pointed remarks about professional men making jobs for themselves and saying that the cracks he had pointed out had been there for hundreds of years.
     He walked out of the meeting and his parting shot was if they were going to continue their deliberations much longer it would be safer to do so outside just in case the church fell down around them.
     His words were prophetic, because just three days later in the early morning as the clock began to strike four, the entire tower collapsed with a tremendous roar and crashed through the roof of the nave, completely demolishing the northern arcade. This did Telford’s credibility in the town no harm at all! Although not involved in the restoration of St. Chad’s, he did later go on to design and build a church elsewhere in the county – St. Mary’s in the High Town of Bridgnorth.

An engineering print of the Menai Bridge



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