- John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836)
Born in Ayr>, McAdam travelled to New York in 1770 and returned to Scotland in 1783, having made his fortune as a merchant and prize agent during the American Revolution.
The roads in Britain at that time were notoriously bad and McAdam, at his own expense, experimented with methods of road building, including improved drainage and a tar-based, waterproof road surface which became known as "macadamisation" - now known as "tarmac".
He travelled widely, giving advice and help, much of it at his own expense. Surprisingly, in view of his earlier success, his business interests proved to be somewhat unprofitable. In addition to the creation of better road surfaces, he developed ideas of good road management which many of the turnpike companies of the day adopted. In 1820 Parliament awarded him 2,000 pounds for his efforts and in 1827 he was made Surveyor-General of metropolitan roads.
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