This expressive silhouette suggests that McAdam was a man with his feet firmly on the ground. The son of an Ayrshire landowner, McAdam made a fortune as a merchant in New York. When he returned to Britain, he was appalled by the condition of the rubble-built roads. His solution was the 'Macadamised' road surface, which was smooth, hard and flat. Small broken stones were arranged in thin layers, which locked together under the traffic flow, resulting in an easy-to-maintain and durable road surface.