Remember  Dr Fred Dibnah  

1938 - 2004



121 Radcliffe Rd, Bolton, BL2 1NU

Tel: 01204 531303

Closure of the Heritage centre.


It is with mixed feelings of regret and relief that I am announcing to you, our supporters, followers, Fred Dibnah devotees and fans, that the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre has now officially closed and will not be re-opening, in other words this is the end of the Fred Dibnah Heritage centre, and there are no more guided tours being conducted.


This has been a fantastic journey for me and my wife (who's health has unfortunately declined in the last three years) and one that I will treasure for years to come. It has been a privilege knowing that the Heritage centre has brought pleasure to many thousands of people from all around the UK and to many visitors from around the globe, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Holland, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, all of whom would not have had the pleasure of visiting their Hero's home otherwise.


For personal reasons that I will not go into at this time I have decided that it is time for me to take a long awaited and well-earned break. Having brought Fred’s home and workplace back to life over the last 8 years from virtual dereliction into a successful and very popular visitor attraction, dedicated to the memory of a great man, and having tried so hard to find a buyer to carry the Centre on into the future, unfortunately this has not been possible having tried absolutely everything possible at great cost to myself, mentally, physically and financially.


Opening the Heritage centre was a massive risk for me personally and financially, and I now having turned age 70 this year I need to get back to some form of normality, so my wife and I can enjoy what years we have left in peace. As I have not been able to find a buyer to carry on the Heritage centre I was left with no other option than to close and sell everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) off. We held an auction on March 17th this year and subsequently all Fred’s machinery and most of his massive collection of tools was sold off. This was truly heart-breaking to witness but the positive side of it is that many of Fred’s fans and devotees now are the proud owners of their hero's machines and tools and will cherish them with great affection.


We will soon be dedicating this website to concentrating on the many new owners of Fred’s machines tools and memorabilia being able to share their experiences of owning these iconic and important pieces of history, enabling them to show how they have utilised the artefacts and in many cases rebuilt them and brought them back to life. for instance Fred’s amazing pithead gear was initially bought at the auction by a keen Fred fan from Cumbria who was going to set it up at his museum in Cumbria, however the Lancashire mining museum based at Astley Green in Bolton were keen to own it so they could rebuild it and have it on display at their local museum, where Fred actually visited during the filming of his wonderful “Tours of Britain” series on BBC, so I managed to broker a deal to ensure the pithead gear goes to the Lancashire mining museum which I think is great for local heritage.


We have now removed all of the large pieces of machinery and having completed this mammoth task we have now carried out a landscaping project to make the whole site more like a home, Freds 50' chimney still stands proudly to attention in the garden and of course his famous mineshaft is still here, the main workshop is still here and a new owner may wish to run a business on site utilising the workshop.


Once again, my wife and I and our small team of faithful volunteers, including Jonathon Wild. who has run this website for the last 9 years on a voluntary basis. would like to take this opportunity to thank all our followers and Fred fans for your fantastic support.

























The winner of the competition is Brian Langshaw from Wigan! He has however requested no publicity and I respect that; he is overjoyed with his win and he will be receiving £7,000.


The competition was very small in the number of entries, so much so that the total monies raised amounted to just £10,300. I was advised by the Marketing Manager at Integritas who originally set the competition up, that what normally happens is that if all the tickets are not sold, then instead of the house being won the cash prize is awarded after all expenses of the competition have been deducted, in other words the winner gets 70% of the NET proceeds of the competition.


However, having seen a recent raffle result where the house owner claimed there were expenses of over £600,000 to be deducted, I did not want this to be the case, I wanted to protect the winner from this scenario. I made sure the T&C’s stated the winner would get 70% of the money raised with no deductions and that I would personally pay the expenses from the balance, i.e. 30%. This was against the advice of the promoter, however, in the end it was a good job I did this as the expenses of the competition would have wiped out the cash prize and the winner would have got absolutely nothing.


As I have said for the last week, I had to wait for the final figures from First Data who handle the money and only got the figures today.


I was told by the Promoter/Marketing company Integritas, at the beginning that if the competition went well I could expect the costs to be around £50k. If for instance the competition had raised say £150k, I thought that at least the winner would walk away with £100k and the other £50k would pay the expenses.


However, three months into the competition it was obvious it was not performing anywhere near how it should have been. The National papers were not interested so we didn’t get the publicity the promoters had envisaged; in the meantime, I was still having to pay the running costs.  The promoter/marketing company made a commercial decision to stop working on it as they could see it was not commercially viable for them or me.


Having started the competition, I felt obliged to carry it on as I didn’t want to disappoint the entrants. The promoters did say that although it got off to a slow start most competitions gather a lot of pace towards the end, so I allowed it to carry on but found it impossible to access the account details. I relied on the promoter and website people to get on with it and whatever the outcome was I would accept it. In hindsight it would have been better if I had stopped it and paid everybody back.


The total funds raised was £10,300.  The total running costs of the competition was over £21,000 which means after paying the winner out his full 70% I have made a financial loss of just over £14,000. If I can give one piece of advice this is it, never ever think about offering your home in a raffle or spot the ball competition it isn’t worth the hassle and it can cost you a lot of money, and for those misguided people that accused me of making a profit, you could not be further from the truth.

A simple message to all those people that entered in good faith, and that have stood by me.


A MASSIVE THANK YOU, and a simple message to all those people who either did or didn’t enter but just wanted to rub my name in the dirt including those with their own despicable agenda’s, I have given Fred’s legacy 10 years of blood sweat and tears, and contrary to popular belief great financial, emotional and physical cost to myself and my wife, I stand proud of doing that, when other people did not want to get involved or support me at all.


I hope this answers your questions and I hope that you will respect the above details.


Leon Powsney.