The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre

I was very pleased to hear from Leon recently, who is the driving force behind the project to create a Heritage Centre at the late, great man’s house in Bolton.

Their intention is to turn the site back to how it would have been during its heyday when Fred was alive. After 4 years of being unoccupied while Fred’s will was executed apparently the house was in a poor state and it has taken a lot of work to get it up to standard.

Of course apart from the extensive steam-powered workshop in the back yard, complete with replica coal mine, the house itself is also an architectural wonder. Originally built in 1854, this was the gatehouse for the estate owned by the Earl of Bradford. Rumour has it that it was built purely as a ‘folly’. It appears from the front to be a little one floor cottage; however it is quite deceiving because it is of subterranean structure meaning that there’s a lower floor below ground level, which is level with the ground at the rear, leading to the gardens and yard. Its a grade 2 Listed Building, with a blue plaque on the wall outside.

Leon and his wife’s ultimate aim is to make this wonderful place into a Heritage Centre, where people of all ages can come and see how Fred worked. It really would be a tragedy if the history that Fred strived to create was lost for future generations. But they don’t want it to just be a museum, they want people to see it working, actually being used to make things, and do what it was designed to do.

I applaud their aims wholeheartedly, as someone who is a fan of not only Fred, but his values and what he represented. Industrial Heritage should be seen in operation, working. Especially with machinery like steam Engines – only when they are working can you appreciate the sounds, the smells, the atmosphere.

I will be featuring more about the campaign to establish and develop the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre, but for now take a look at their website!

The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre



Filed under Industrial Revolution, Museums

6 responses to “The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre

  1. Pingback: The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre « Daly History Blog « BlogsCentre

  2. Hi thank you for your kind words, and yes you are absolutlely right this wonderful piece of history, the lifetimes work of a very clever man Fred Dibnah MBE must be preserved, brought back to life and protected for all generations young and old to see. The main aim at the moment is to raise funds to achieve this aim, its a fact that one of Freds last wishes was that his home should become a heritage centre after the council turned down his appplication for this in 1999, so our first major hurdle was to gain planning permission which we have now finally done after a long drawn out battle, I have done as much as I possibly can under my own steam, but we need some help now as we have some serious work to do before anybody can be allowed in, such as health and safety issues and toilet facilities for able bodied and disabled visitors, also we need to resurface the entrance drive to make it safe, we need people to help us with funding, so please visit our website for details of our fundraising efforts, and lets get the show on the road, many thanks Leon Powsney on behalf of the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre

  3. David

    Dear Leon,

    It is good to hear that you are making progress in bringing back the heritage that surrounded Fred and his lifestyle.
    As one of the fortunate folk who have had the pleasure to have met Fred I was given by him a personally signed photo written in his own hand and in my presence.
    This has given me the idea of the Heritage Centre organising a special day inviting all who have a like signed photograph to visit the centre on a date to be set.
    In order to raise the awareness of this perhaps the website could advertise the event using the photo as the ‘ticket’ to enter and funds could be generated from those attending by paying for a B-B-Q or similar garden party. Plus the sale of Heritage shop items.
    Well I hope this is food for thought and a great way to get more supporters behind your efforts to fully restore the house and workshop to it’s former glory.


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