Until the early part of the 18th century life for the majority of Britons had not changed greatly since the Middle Ages, but then in the space of 300 years the pace of change accelerated rapidly. Civil engineering was vital for these sudden and large improvements to our economy and quality of life. Wales is said to have been one of the first industrialised nations in the world, when the number of people employed in industry exceeded the number in agriculture. From the 18th century the rapid expansion of industry required improved transport links for the movement of materials and finished products by way of canals, roads, railways and docks. The mountainous landscape presented serious obstacles to improvements in communications, creating innovative and spectacular engineering. Many of Britain's finest engineers have been involved throughout the Principality, including Brindley, Jessop, Rennie, Telford, Stephenson and Brunel. This book records examples of some of their best work.
This book is part of a regional series on civil engineering heritage that examines the contribution of the civil engineer to society over the last 300 years, including transport networks, architecture and landscape design. It is fully illustrated throughout, making an important contribution to the industrial history of Britain, and would interest anyone with a desire to know more about civil engineering's impact on the UK. It includes a gazetteer of groundbreaking monuments to civil engineering.