The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre
VISIT THE HERITAGE CENTRE
Hello please allow me to introduce my wife and myself as the owners of the Famous Fred Dibnah MBE's house and worksite.
My name is Leon and my wife’s name is Jan.
Right from the start it was our intention to turn this amazing place into a Heritage Centre in memory and celebration of Fred. This was Fred’s dream and we are immensely proud that we have managed to accomplish exactly that. When we first came here the site had been empty for four years. There was a lot of hard work to do before we could actually move in, but we got stuck in and put a lot of hours in turning it back into a home once again.
When we were cleaning the house up and getting rid of four years of dust, the boiler wasn’t working because the pilot light had gone out.
The garden was completely overgrown so again we got stuck into that and cut it back as those quick growing tree’s had taken root all over the place. There were bushes all over the place, and the lawn was just one big weed. I dug up the whole lawn, hired a petrol driven rotavator (that nearly drove off with me in its wake, I thought I was going to end up down the gradient at the edge of the site and end up in the river) but I managed in the end to bring it back under control!
Once I had turned the complete garden over I reseeded it (I love to see the new baby grass roots coming up for the first time, beautiful) at first the birds were nicking all the seeds, so I put nets over the lawn and a scarecrow dressed in Fred’s sheepskin jacket, that saw them off. Eventually we had a brand new lawn which I have nurtured and ever since.
Fred left a marvellous Victorian long handled tree branch lopper, its quite heavy as its wooden but it does the job, also the Swan Mill chimney stones that Fred laid in the centre of the garden have been added to by myself as a lot of the original ones were broken or missing.
Take the tour with us at www.freddibnahheritagecentre.co.uk and come and see Fred's World all for yourself!
The house was originally built in 1854 and used as the Park keeper's lodge, the park or woods being part of the Earl of Bradford estate. The lodge was built to serve Bolton's first public park, established by the Earl of Bradford on his estate, but later closed by him.
The house is a unique design and is what is known as a Subterranean property, with two storey living quarters, one at street level and another below street level. It has an arched doorway, with ornamental strap hinges on the front door, and mullion windows each side. There is an Earl of Bradford coat of arms above the door, the house has been known locally as “Two Cats” because of this coat of arms, plus there is a blue English Heritage plaque on the wall dedicated to Fred.
Our Details can be found below.
Frederick "Fred" Dibnah MBE (28 April 1938 – 6 November 2004), born in Bolton, was an English steeplejack and television personality, with a keen interest in mechanical engineering. I have read that Fred had hinted that he would not live to a ripe old age, he was quoted as saying “Chimney stacks are made to cause pollution, and I’ve sucked in more smoke, soot and ash in one day than most people breathe in a whole lifetime, so something is going to have to give.
Dibnah was born in a country which then relied heavily upon coal to fuel its industry. As a child he was fascinated by the steam engines which powered the many textile mills in Bolton.
Learn more about Fred Dibnah at the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre!