Wanted: New Steam Boiler for Fred Dibnah’s House

Heritage centre’s call for environmentally friendly steam boiler for workshop

Fred Dibnah's Workshop, in need of a steam boiler. Photographed by Chris Allen, 1994.

Fred Dibnah’s workshop, which could once again see its machinery in full swing. Photographed by Chris Allen, 1994. (Creative Commons License: Some Rights Reserved).

In these parts of Lancashire, Fred Dibnah is quite a legend. We think of the late-great steeplejack’s derring do with mill chimneys in Bolton and Darwen. If you are enamoured with his works, you would have come across his house on Radcliffe Road, east of Bolton town centre. It is a heritage centre which celebrates his enthusiasm for engineering. In The Bolton News late last month, they launched a fundraising appeal for a steam boiler.

The steam boiler will be used for demonstrating his machinery and engineering installations. Leon Powsney has called for an environmentally friendly model, which doesn’t use coal power. The missing piece of the jigsaw would power Fred’s recently refurbished stationary steam engine and see a use for its 50 feet chimney. Once completed, it will power the UK’s only steam driven workshop.

The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre attracts a fair number of visitors from Breightmet to Berlin and Buenos Aires. Fred’s House and Works was built in 1854 as a park keeper’s lodge for the Earl of Bradford. Guided tours are available at 2pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

If you wish to help the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre to get its steam boiler, why not visit their Crowdfunder page? £20,000 is required to make the project possible, and you have until the 25 April 2017 (1.29pm) to make your pledge.

In The Bolton News, Leon Powsney said: “This is such an important piece of history in Bolton and our national history.” We at ST Heating Services concur. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with his work, here’s a YouTube clip of Fred Dibnah himself.