Did you know? Masonic Philately

Sir George Cathcart No. 617

John Loudoun McAdam. (1756–1836)

Scottish Engineer





Born in Ayr, and following the death of his father, he lived with an uncle in New York City. He became a merchant but sided with the British at the time of the American war of Independence and returned to Scotland in 1783, where he purchased an estate in Ayrshire and began his experiments in road construction.

Inventor of the Macadam road surface. It originally consisted of broken granite bound together with slag or gravel, raised for drainage. Today, it is bound with tar or asphalt.

McAdam introduced a method of road building that raised the road above the surrounding terrain, compounding a surface of small stones bound with gravel on a firm base of large stones.

A camber, making the road slightly convex in section, ensured that rainwater rapidly drained off the road and did not penetrate the foundation. By the end of the 19th century, most of the main roads in Europe were built in this way.

McAdam was born in Ayr. Immigrating to the USA at 14, he returned to the UK 1783. He was appointed paving commissioner in Bristol in 1806; ten years later he became surveyor-general of the roads in that region, and of all the roads in Britain 1827.

McAdam was also responsible for reforms in road administration, and advised many turnpike trusts. He ensured that public roads became the responsibility of the government, financed out of taxes for the benefit of everyone.


Bro. John was an Affiliate member of Ayr Kilwinning Lodge No 123,*

Date of Affillation 9th December 1789,

He was elected and installed as R.W.M. 27th December 1790

and again in 27th December 1791

The details of his Mother Lodge do not seem to be recorded.


Stamps  Issued:- G.B.  2009  


*Originally chartered in 1765 by Mother Kilwinning with charter No 65, known as

 The Squaremen Ayrs Kilwinning Lodge No. 65 at Ayr

 The later charter from The Grand Lodge of Scotland was numbered 123