MossValley: 1830, Thomas Telford's report - Holyhead Road, proposed mail coach road between Chirk and Ketley.
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Transcript of the


of Mr. Telford on the


in the County of Salop



(Holyhead Road)

Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,
10 February, 1830.

[James and Luke G. Hansard & Sons, Printers.]

Map shewing the Lines of the Present and Proposed Mail Coach Roads between Chirk and Ketley, 1830 (820 kb) - click to enlarge

Map showing the Lines of the Present and Proposed Mail Coach Roads
between Brynkinalt Park, near Chirk, through the town of Wellington, to Ketley in Shropshire, 1830
Click for enlargement in a separate window (this is a large image, 820 kb)

REPORT respecting the RE-SURVEY between Chirk and Ketley


Thomas Telford, engineer of the London-Holyhead road In compliance with the Instructions of the Parliamentary Commissioners of the Holyhead Road, conveyed in your letter to me, I have attentively re-considered the Plans and Reports which I have formerly made for improving the Communications between London and Dublin, by a new Road from the village of Chirk, on the borders of North Wales, in a direct line across the eastern parts of Shropshire, through the town of Wellington, to join the present Mail Road again at Ketley Iron Works.

In my Third Report on the Holyhead Road, made by order of the Lords of the Treasury, bearing date 16th May 1822, I state that upwards of seven miles may be saved by this new Road, and that "the section of this new and singularly direct line shows that it is as free from hills as a road ought to be; and I am able to add, that the country through which it will pass presents no difficulty of any kind, to enhance the usual rate of expense attendant on making good roads through level districts."

The opportunity I have had since 1822, of re-considering this proposed improvement, has served to confirm me in this opinion; I have recently had the whole line re-surveyed, and the levels carefully re-examined.

The natural surface of the country through which the new Line passes, being free from hills, and the soil dry, and but few streams to cross, the expense to be incurred by cutting, embanking and bridges, will be comparatively moderate; I estimate the whole, including land, at £61,783. 15s. 3d.; and having received an offer from an experienced road-contractor to execute this improvement for a sum not differing much from the above, there can be no doubt that the sum I have here stated will be sufficient.

The only alteration I have made from my former plan, is that of making the new Line terminate at the north-west end of the improved Mail Road at Ketley, instead of at the town of Wellington; by this alteration the hills between Watling-street and Ketley, and a considerable circuity, are avoided; it will also pass the town with more convenience to the owners of property.

With regard to the advantages to be gained from this improvement:-
By referring to the Map and Section, it will be seen, that its total length being only twenty-seven miles five hundred and fifty-five yards, and that of the present Mail Road thirty-four miles one thousand two hundred and ten yards, the saving in distance is seven miles six hundred and fifty-five yards; in addition to which, the hill at Montford Bridge, the inconveniently steep and awkward streets of the town of Shrewsbury, and the high and tiresome Overly Hill, will be entirely avoided, besides crossing the river Severn four times; while, by obtaining an entirely new and properly constructed Road, travelling will be greatly facilitated; whereas, with the exception of some very partial alterations, lately made, the present Mail Road by Oswestry and Shrewsbury is still imperfect.

With regard to local accommodation:- By referring to the annexed Map, it will be evident that the distance between the following Towns and the London Mail Road, at Ketley, will be shortened:



about six miles each.







three miles.

Abingdon Street,
      10th Feb. 1830.

           To Alex. Milne, Esq.
Secretary to the Holyhead Road Commissioners.


MilestonesWeb: Thomas Telford's London-Holyhead Road

Llangollen website, local history section: Telford's Holyhead Road

SABRE (The Society for All British Road Enthusiasts): A5 London-Holyhead

Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT): The Making of the Vale of Llangollen and Eglwyseg Historic Landscape (includes a section on Telford's road)

Shropshire Routes to Roots: Telford and the Holyhead Road

Transcript of The Life of Thomas Telford, by Samuel Smiles, and in particular this chapter

Dumfries & Galloway Hall of Fame: Thomas Telford

Prosiect Menai: Thomas Telford, the Father of Civil Engineering

A5 Road
Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford's signature

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