Telford in England & Wales
6th - 10th June 2022
The first of a series of unique, small-group, tours, under the title "The Lives of the Engineers"
inspired by the title of the 3 volumes by Samuel Smiles published by John Murray in 1861.
Led by Peter Brown
4 nights, full-board in a comfortable hotel - from £730 per person
Price includes all entrance fees and donations.
There is a discount for AIA members.

Covid Money Back Guarantee
In the event that, due to Covid 19, government regulations change such that
we are unable to run this tour all monies paid will be refunded in full.
Now fully booked
Thomas Telford FRS, FRSE (1757 – 1834) was born into poverty in Eskdale, Dumfriesshire but rose to be one of the two greatest civil engineers of the early 19th century. Reflecting his command of all types of civil engineering of the time, he was elected as the first President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a post he held for 14 years until his />
A separate tour "Telford in Scotland" is planned for later but this tour explores how he built his reputation in Shropshire where in the 1790s he became County Surveyor, General Agent of the Ellesmere Canal and consultant to the Shrewsbury Canal.

Later, he engineered the Holyhead Road and the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal.
Based at an hotel near the town of Telford, named after the great engineer, the highlights of this tour are planned to be visits to Longdon, Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts, the ‘New Main Line’ of the Birmingham Canal and Harecastle Tunnel, most of the route of the Holyhead Road including the Menai Bridge, and, less well known, all three of the churches which he designed.
Note: We have yet to confirm some visits so the itinerary may be subject to slight changes.
Monday - Telford the architect
The tour begins at the Valley Hotel, Ironbridge where we will be staying for the whole tour.
The coach will leave the hotel at 14:30 for the short ride to St Michael’s Church at Madeley, where we will see this rare example of an octagonal church, designed by Telford and built in 1796.
  After time for look a good look around we will drive to St Mary Magdalene’s Church at Bridgnorth (left), said to be Telford’s finest architectural creation.

Then we will walk to the top of the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway, Britain’s only 19th century inland funicular railway, which has been in operation since 1892. We will ride down on the funicular, cross the bridge which Telford rebuilt, and re-join the coach to return to the hotel.

Dinner will be served in a private room after which there will be a talk by our expert guide Peter Brown who will give an introduction to the life and times of Thomas Telford.
Overnight at the Valley Hotel.
Tuesday - Telford, the experienced engineer
In the morning we begin by taking the train to Galton Bridge near Smethwick.
On the way we will see aspects of the Birmingham Canal New Main Line including a cutting over 70 feet deep, part of the 5¾ mile virtually straight new line between Smethwick and Tipton designed by Telford and opened in 1827.
  From the station there will be a towpath walk of about half a mile to the Galton Valley Pumping Station (left). On the way we will see Telford’s 1829 Galton Bridge which, with a span of 150 feet, was at the time of building the longest single span iron bridge and the late 20th century Galton Tunnel.

The Pumping Station was built in 1892 to raise water from the lower Birmingham New Main Line to the higher Old Main Line Canal to replace water lost when boats went through the Smethwick locks. We have arranged for it to be opened specially for our visit.

From the Pumping Station the coach will take us to Norbury Junction, which is the junction with the Shrewsbury branch, where we can see the historic maintenance depot is still in use.

To the south, Telford designed the massive Shelmore embankment, 60 feet high and almost a mile long, which was the last part of the canal to be completed, six months after Telford had died.
A light lunch will be served at the Junction Inn, Norbury (included).
In the afternoon we will drive to the southern end of the Harecastle Tunnels. The two canal tunnels were engineered by James Brindley (1766–77) and then Telford (1824–7).

Finally we will visit Tyrley Wharf and Locks - a private wharf which includes the best surviving Telford lock cottage, and provides a hint of an earlier canal.

After dinner with the group the rest of evening is at leisure.
Overnight at the Valley Hotel.
Wednesday - Telford, General Agent of the Ellesmere Canal (or, the novice engineer)
In the morning we will visit the Ellesmere Depot of the Canal & River Trust, a canal workshop still doing the job it was designed to do over 200 years ago.
  Then we will visit the 70-foot high and 710-foot long Chirk Aqueduct that carries what is now the Llangollen Canal across the Ceiriog Valley. It was built to a pioneering design by Jessop and Telford using hollow stone arches, an iron base plate and waterproof cement.

The tour would not be complete without a visit to the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (left) 336 yards long, standing 126 feet above the river Dee and now the central feature of the World Heritage Site. We plan to cross the aqueduct on a trip boat.

At the northern end of the aqueduct we will also have time to see Trevor Basin to discover the remains of tramroads and a private canal.

A light lunch will be served at the Pontcysyllte Chapel Tearoom (included)

In the afternoon we will visit the distinctively shaped weir known as the Horseshoe Falls. The weir is 460 feet long and is the start of the navigable feeder bringing the water from the Dee to the summit level of the canal.
Nearby we can also see the Chain Bridge built in 1817 by Exuperius Pickering and rebuilt twice after floods, but still using the original chains. From there we will return to Ironbridge via part of the Holyhead Road in England from Queen’s Head through Shrewsbury to Atcham.

After dinner with the group the rest of evening is at leisure.
Overnight at the Valley Hotel.
Thursday - Telford, the road engineer
We will be driving longer distances today to see more of the Holyhead Road in Wales from Llangollen to Anglesey through Snowdonia.

In the morning we will head for Betws-y-Coed and the Waterloo Bridge (left). This bridge, designed in 1815, has a span of 105 feet, was made wholly of cast iron and was only the seventh such bridge to be built.

A light lunch will be served at the Antelope Inn, Bangor (included)
In the afternoon we will visit the Menai Bridge - arguably Telford’s single greatest engineering achievement, then see how the Britannia railway bridge has been adapted to additionally take road traffic.

Then we will go to see the two Conwy Bridges - Telford’s suspension bridge of 1826 alongside Robert Stephenson and William Fairbairn’s tubular bridge of 1848. We then have a straight drive back to Ironbridge.

After dinner with the group the rest of evening is at leisure.
Overnight at the Valley Hotel.
Friday - Around Telford town
  In the morning we will visit the Longdon Aqueduct. This 186 foot cast iron canal aqueduct was re-engineered by William Reynolds and Thomas Telford after the first construction designed by William Clowes was swept away by floods. It was built in 1796 to carry the Shrewsbury Canal across the River Tern and is the earliest surviving navigable aqueduct built of iron.

Then we shall move on to Wappenshall Wharf, where the Newport Branch of the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal, engineered by Telford, passes under an elegant stone skew bridge to join the earlier Shrewsbury Canal.

We shall then see St Leonard’s Church, Malinslee (left) - Telford’s third English church.
At the end of the morning the coach will return via Telford station to the Valley Hotel where the tour ends.

On each day, we plan to include morning and afternoon ‘coffee & comfort’ stops where time and circumstances permit (own expense).

Peter Brown was Treasurer and Deputy Chief Executive of Great Yarmouth Borough Council before taking early retirement and moving to Shropshire. He has been an officer of the Railway & Canal Historical Society (Secretary, Journal Editor) and the Inland Waterways Association (Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch Chairman), is a member of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, the British Association for Local History, several other transport and local history societies and for eight years was a member of the Council of the Canal & River Trust. His publications include the Shropshire Union Canal: from the Mersey to the Midlands and Mid-Wales (2018), which won the AIA Professional Publications Award in 2019, and A Shropshire Union Miscellany (2021).

We will be staying at the Best Western Valley Hotel, Buildwas Road, Ironbridge, Shropshire, TF8 7DW.

This Georgian listed country house hotel is just 4 miles away from Telford, enjoying a prime location in the World Heritage site of Ironbridge and set on the banks of the River Severn within walking distance of the heart of the town centre. It is surrounded by stunning parkland but with easy access from the motorway and 10 minutes’ drive from Telford town centre. The restaurant has been awarded two AA rosettes.

All the rooms are en-suite, and are double or twin bedded with tea and coffee making facilities in the room. There is free parking onsite and free Wi-Fi is available.

The tour starts at our hotel in Ironbridge at 14:30 on the Monday afternoon and after dropping at Telford main railway station by about 12:40 ends at the Valley Hotel at the end of Friday morning. We leave you to make your own travel arrangements to and from Ironbridge to suit your own convenience and use of alternative departure points. Cars may be left at the Valley Hotel at no expense but must be registered with reception.

Travel during the tour will be by luxury, air-conditioned coach.

Detailed joining instructions will be supplied in good time before the start of the tour.

The cost of the tour is £730 per person sharing, single supplement £190. The single supplement is entirely accounted for by the additional charges made by the hotel for single occupancy.

Heritage of Industry is pleased to offer a discount of £10 per booking to any paid-up member of the Association for Industrial Archaeology at the time of the tour. For more information about the AIA and how to join click here:

In organising these very specialist, unique, small group, tours we do not enjoy the same economies of scale which are available to us for our larger group tours. Nevertheless we believe that the cost represents excellent value for money and compares very favourably with other specialist operators.

The cost includes:
  • An itinerary packed with visits to fascinating sites
  • 4 nights dinner, bed & breakfast in comfortable hotel accommodation
  • A light lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday
  • Luxury air conditioned mini-coach transport to all sites and driver tip
  • All entrance fees, rail fares during the tour, excursion costs and donations (amounting to about £40pp)
  • Uniquely qualified expert guiding and services of an experienced tour manager throughout
  • Research for the visit
  • Professionally produced, comprehensive tour notes
Excluded are:
  • Drinks
  • Expenses at the hotel other than dinner, bed & breakfast
All costs are in Pounds Sterling (GBP) and are based on present accommodation, transport costs and taxes. Any change in these may necessitate a price change.

Please note that cancellation charges will apply from 11th April 2022, and, although these will be modified to the extent that costs are not actually incurred, you are strongly advised to insure against the need to cancel.

Non-UK residents also need to consider medical treatment and repatriation charges in the event of illness etc. Participants who do not have travel insurance must nevertheless accept full responsibility for these eventualities.

It is a condition of booking that all persons named on the booking form must have been fully vaccinated against the Covid 19 (SARS-CoV2) virus and had a booster shot at least 3 weeks prior to the start of the tour.

Non-UK residents must ensure that they carry a valid passport for entry into the UK and may need a visa.
To check visa requirements visit the UK Border Agency website: 
Heritage of Industry cannot be held responsible for any problems with entry into the United Kingdom.

Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to space availability. Booking is subject to a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 20 people. You are advised not to make non-refundable, contingent travel arrangements until we have confirmed that the tour will run.

Book as soon as possible and by 11th April to ensure a place but please feel free to enquire after that date if a place is still available. We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the booking. Invoices for the balance of the price will be issued about 8 weeks before the tour starts.

A non-refundable deposit of £75 per person is required on booking. Bookings can be made definite only when the booking details and deposit are received and accepted in writing/email by Heritage of Industry Ltd. The company's standard terms and conditions apply. The balance of the price is to be paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd on presentation of the invoice. All monies paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd will be held, in accordance with government regulations**, in a customer protection account until the tour is complete so that your money is safe no matter what happens.

All payments should be made using your bank’s online ‘bill payment’ facilities. All account details are on the booking form. Please send an email note when payment has been made. If you are unable to use electronic banking then please send a sterling cheque drawn on a UK bank. There is no extra charge for using cheques at present.

We are sorry that we are unable to accept payment by credit/debit card or Paypal.

Now fully booked


For further information email:

** The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 3288)

The Association for Industrial Archaeology

For the last three centuries industry has had a major influence on the society, environment and landscape in which we live and its remains provide a link with the past that can also serve the future. The AIA brings together groups and individuals with an interest and expertise in identifying, recording, preserving and presenting the remains of our industrial past. Uniting individuals, local societies, academics and field professionals the AIA:
  • Pools knowledge and sets standards for recording
  • Represents industrial archaeology by membership of national and international bodies
  • Supports local and special interest societies
  • Monitors planning applications to alter or demolish industrial sites and buildings
And through its programme of awards and grants it:
  • Sponsors research and rewards excellence
  • Assists preservation and restoration
  • Encourages research and publication
The AIA has now also established the Young Members Board to engage with people of mid-career age and younger.
Heritage of Industry Ltd is very pleased to support the activities of the Association and very much hopes that you do too and will become a member.

Apart from the discount available on Heritage of Industry tours AIA members enjoy a range of benefits which are shown on the Membership page of the AIA website where you can also find full details of how to join:

An AIA member joining this tour will already have recouped nearly 1/3 of the AIA membership fee but more importantly the support members give enables the AIA to continue its work.