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Papers of part of the surviving business archive, or relating to the work, of Thomas Telford (1757-1834), engineer.

Identifier: MSS.19969-19978

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of business correspondence, draft reports, accounts and other papers relating to Thomas Telford's professional activities for the last decade of his life, as well as correspondence and some drafts relating to the 'Life of Thomas Telford civil engineer' itself. The business papers relate mainly to Scottish undertakings and to harbours, canals and fen drainage, with some personal and professional accounts. The collection is roughly half of the material which survived in John Rickman's hands; the other half is now with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.


  • Creation: 1795-1838, undated.

Conditions Governing Access

Normal access conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.


10 Volumes ; All volumes are large folio and under unless otherwise stated.

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged by undertaking.

Custodial History

With the exception of two letters (MS.19972, folios 83, 89), the papers were preserved in the family of John Rickman, the statistician.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bought, Sotheby's sale, 22 June 1976, lot 158. Folio 83, bought, 1976, Maggs Bros Limited, London, catalogue 977, number 151. Folio 89, bought, 1972, Francis Edwards, Limited, London, Bulletin number 2, item 199.

Separated Materials

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Papers consisting primarily of English material, especially relating to the Holyhead Road, and the final manuscript of the 'Life of Thomas Telford Civil Engineer, written by himself'.


John Rickman edited and published the 'Life of Thomas Telford Civil Engineer, written by himself' (London, 1838).
National Library of Scotland Catalogue of Manuscripts
National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division
Description rules
International Standard for Archival Description - General
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the National Library of Scotland Archives and Manuscripts Division Repository

Archives and Manuscript Division
National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
0131 623 3700