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    Default Fred Dibnah heritage collection

    I don't think there's much chance of upsetting anyone's plans posting this- Fred Dibnah was a famous steeplejack, steam man and tv "star" over here, i was thinking it was a shame the history of where these tools and bits all came from has now been lost.
    Does anyone ever get round to writing down some details of interest about your machines' provenance so that when the day comes others have the benefit of your years collecting?Adam Partridge Auctioneers & Valuers | The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre Collection

    Richard.

    Fred Dibnah How to bring down a chimney stack. - YouTube
    Last edited by Ruston3w; 03-06-2018 at 04:54 AM. Reason: added link

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    The greedy scroat was asking a million for the place, and now recons some old whitworth spanners are worth money.

    I imagine my daughters will call the scrappy to clear my empire of dirt

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    I've seen but a few of Fred's videos - but enjoyed every one!

    As you say, his departure from this vail seems to have been "unsettled" with various legal challenges and not a clear path to the exit. This can happen to those whose accumulated worth is more than the life they lived (or perhaps the care they took in accumulating the money?) Or the planning for their departure.

    Fred was a rare combination of "technical hubris" combined with sheer luck. Plus his hubris, or the luck, attracted the attention of the media - who of course like any circus are looking for the unusual.

    Fred was that.

    Joe in NH

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    I am going to sit down tonight and watch some of the other videos. I enjoyed that one.

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    I get the feeling from the BBC videos that Fred was extremely talented and quite sharp. He really knew a ton about Victorian engineering and steam power. I've watched almost every video I can find that he made. They were never shown here in the US.

    I suspect he was a pretty selfish guy. He seemed focused only on restoring old steam engines and no financial or family responsibility was going to stand in his way.

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    I watched a number of Fred Dibnah youtubes here in the USA. Dibnah was a remarkable man, and he accumulated quite a collection. What Dibnah was trying to do was to capture some of the Victorian age of steam and related industry on what amounted to a "beer budget". He succeeded admirably. Dibnah, in passing, related some of his own personal information. Plainly, he put his interests or passions for steam power and machinery and old industry take precedence over much else in his life. Some would call him an eccentric, which- being a principal part of a steam engine's valve motion- is kind of a fitting pun and good description. My own guess is he had some sort of "issues"- speaking from my own perspective as someone who is likely "on the spectrum" (possibly Asbergers or autism). For some unknown reasons, people with autism or Asbergers seem to have an affinity for steam locomotives and trains and similar. Having a daughter, age 33, who is high functioning autistic, we have been around a lot of people with these sorts of disabilties and many are fascinated by steam locomotives and similar.

    A lot of people who are "on the spectrum" are often somewhat self-absorbed or self centered and become obsessive about whatever they are interested in. Speaking from my own experience as someone who grew up as a very "different" kid and was attracted to steam power almost as soon as I could remember, around age 4.

    Dibnah made good use of his eccentricity, doing more than just dreaming about steam power or collecting books or maker's name plates. He managed to do an incredible amount of work and accomplished so much given his modest circumstances. He apparently drove his neighbors and local government (council, I think) a bit nuts when he went so far as to sink a mine shaft on his property aside from all the old machinery and sheds he had there.

    Dibnah was self educated, and he was also a skilled craftsman aside from knowing how to handle steam road engines and the like. I find myself thinking of Conrad Milster, the long-time chief engineer and "curator" of the Pratt Institute power plant in Brooklyn. Milster would have been happy to have lived in the Victorian age. He lived in a row house on the Pratt campus, never drove a car, and went so far as to cultivate and groom his whiskers into Victorian style. Milster existed happily in his life on the Pratt campus for many years and was a well-respected authority on steam power. Unfortunately, modern times caught up with Milster ahead of the grim reaper. The result was Milster was summarily booted out of his berth as chief engineer (after about 50 years) and booted out of his home on the campus. Dibnah developed cancer, and raced the grim reaper to complete his trip around England with his road engine and accomodation wagon. Dibnah, at least, did not face the crushing blows of being put out of his home and losing his steam plant and much else. Dibnah fought the cancer as best he could, and even had an audience with the Queen while on his tour with his steam road engine. While a death due to cancer is not anything I'd wish on anyone or want to imagine, Dibnah faced it with dignity and strength to the end. He met his end with his little empire intact.

    While it will be a shame to see something like Dibnah's collection and his shop and property disposed of by pieces, at least Dibnah did not live to see that happen. At the same time, he leaves quite a legacy through the modern miracles of the internet and youtubes and similar. The similiarities between Dibnah and Milster are many, I think. Both were men whose lives have been dedicated to keeping the knowledge, skills, and similar associated with steam power alive, along with trying to preserves working chunks of steam power and related machinery. Both were men who could be said to be "born a hundred years or so too late.."

    Dibnah, when he went to visit the Queen, appeared as a "proper gentleman" in his formal attire. I am sure that Dibnah was a gentle, kind hearted man, just had his focus consumed by steam power. Milster took the longing for the Victorian age to extremes. He and his late wife loved Gilbert & Sullivan musicals. On one occasion, years ago, my wife and I were at a steam power event as was Milster. Milster and his wife never had children. Someone attending the steam event had a couple of kids who were misbehaving, nothing too out of line, probably just whiny. Milster had enough of it, and he drew himself up and took the kids to task about their lack of manners in a way which had my wife and I turning around so we would not be seen stifling our laughter. He was expecting kids in the late 20th century to have Victorian manners, finishing his upbraiding of those kids with "Children should be seen and not heard", said with all seriousness and in a strict and somber tone.

    Dibnah, I think, was more whimsical and probably went easier on kids, hoping some of them would become interested in the old ways and steam power. In some ways, Dibnah was more like Paddington the Bear, a kindly sort who would just as soon live a simple life and travel around with his road engine and van (or whatever that wagon with the cabin was called), or be left to "potter" in his yard and workshop. Dibnah has left quite a legacy, regardless of whether his life's work and accumulation is kept intact, sold off in pieces, or sent to the scrappers. We cannot control what happens to Dibnah's physical possessions unless someone came forward with a huge sum of money to buy it up and put it into some kind of trust. Dibnah, being a man of modest financial means, could not hope to do much from beyond his grave as far as preserving or saving his collections and real property. Those are the realities. We must be glad that we can at least watch the late Fred Dibnah on youtubes when he was at his best. As I said, he was likely an eccentric, speaking from my own persepctive (being something of an eccentric and likely someone "on the spectrum"). He was a lovable and approachable man from what I've seen on the youtubes, and aside from his domestic travails, I think he was well appreciated far and wide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    I watched a number of Fred Dibnah youtubes here in the USA. Dibnah was a remarkable man, and he accumulated quite a collection. What Dibnah was trying to do was to capture some of the Victorian age of steam and related industry on what amounted to a "beer budget". He succeeded admirably. Dibnah, in passing, related some of his own personal information. Plainly, he put his interests or passions for steam power and machinery and old industry take precedence over much else in his life. Some would call him an eccentric, which- being a principal part of a steam engine's valve motion- is kind of a fitting pun and good description. My own guess is he had some sort of "issues"- speaking from my own perspective as someone who is likely "on the spectrum" (possibly Asbergers or autism). For some unknown reasons, people with autism or Asbergers seem to have an affinity for steam locomotives and trains and similar. Having a daughter, age 33, who is high functioning autistic, we have been around a lot of people with these sorts of disabilties and many are fascinated by steam locomotives and similar.

    A lot of people who are "on the spectrum" are often somewhat self-absorbed or self centered and become obsessive about whatever they are interested in. Speaking from my own experience as someone who grew up as a very "different" kid and was attracted to steam power almost as soon as I could remember, around age 4.

    Dibnah made good use of his eccentricity, doing more than just dreaming about steam power or collecting books or maker's name plates. He managed to do an incredible amount of work and accomplished so much given his modest circumstances. He apparently drove his neighbors and local government (council, I think) a bit nuts when he went so far as to sink a mine shaft on his property aside from all the old machinery and sheds he had there.

    Dibnah was self educated, and he was also a skilled craftsman aside from knowing how to handle steam road engines and the like. I find myself thinking of Conrad Milster, the long-time chief engineer and "curator" of the Pratt Institute power plant in Brooklyn. Milster would have been happy to have lived in the Victorian age. He lived in a row house on the Pratt campus, never drove a car, and went so far as to cultivate and groom his whiskers into Victorian style. Milster existed happily in his life on the Pratt campus for many years and was a well-respected authority on steam power. Unfortunately, modern times caught up with Milster ahead of the grim reaper. The result was Milster was summarily booted out of his berth as chief engineer (after about 50 years) and booted out of his home on the campus. Dibnah developed cancer, and raced the grim reaper to complete his trip around England with his road engine and accomodation wagon. Dibnah, at least, did not face the crushing blows of being put out of his home and losing his steam plant and much else. Dibnah fought the cancer as best he could, and even had an audience with the Queen while on his tour with his steam road engine. While a death due to cancer is not anything I'd wish on anyone or want to imagine, Dibnah faced it with dignity and strength to the end. He met his end with his little empire intact.

    While it will be a shame to see something like Dibnah's collection and his shop and property disposed of by pieces, at least Dibnah did not live to see that happen. At the same time, he leaves quite a legacy through the modern miracles of the internet and youtubes and similar. The similiarities between Dibnah and Milster are many, I think. Both were men whose lives have been dedicated to keeping the knowledge, skills, and similar associated with steam power alive, along with trying to preserves working chunks of steam power and related machinery. Both were men who could be said to be "born a hundred years or so too late.."

    Dibnah, when he went to visit the Queen, appeared as a "proper gentleman" in his formal attire. I am sure that Dibnah was a gentle, kind hearted man, just had his focus consumed by steam power. Milster took the longing for the Victorian age to extremes. He and his late wife loved Gilbert & Sullivan musicals. On one occasion, years ago, my wife and I were at a steam power event as was Milster. Milster and his wife never had children. Someone attending the steam event had a couple of kids who were misbehaving, nothing too out of line, probably just whiny. Milster had enough of it, and he drew himself up and took the kids to task about their lack of manners in a way which had my wife and I turning around so we would not be seen stifling our laughter. He was expecting kids in the late 20th century to have Victorian manners, finishing his upbraiding of those kids with "Children should be seen and not heard", said with all seriousness and in a strict and somber tone.

    Dibnah, I think, was more whimsical and probably went easier on kids, hoping some of them would become interested in the old ways and steam power. In some ways, Dibnah was more like Paddington the Bear, a kindly sort who would just as soon live a simple life and travel around with his road engine and van (or whatever that wagon with the cabin was called), or be left to "potter" in his yard and workshop. Dibnah has left quite a legacy, regardless of whether his life's work and accumulation is kept intact, sold off in pieces, or sent to the scrappers. We cannot control what happens to Dibnah's physical possessions unless someone came forward with a huge sum of money to buy it up and put it into some kind of trust. Dibnah, being a man of modest financial means, could not hope to do much from beyond his grave as far as preserving or saving his collections and real property. Those are the realities. We must be glad that we can at least watch the late Fred Dibnah on youtubes when he was at his best. As I said, he was likely an eccentric, speaking from my own persepctive (being something of an eccentric and likely someone "on the spectrum"). He was a lovable and approachable man from what I've seen on the youtubes, and aside from his domestic travails, I think he was well appreciated far and wide.


    "hoping some of them would become interested in the old ways and steam power"

    Nuclear Energy heats water to STEAM POWER, won't be giving up the old ways for a long time to come and when we do we can learn how to make fire again.

    Love Dibnah's work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pathogen View Post
    Nuclear Energy heats water to STEAM POWER, won't be giving up the old ways for a long time to come and when we do we can learn how to make fire again.
    It was Babcock & Wilcox who coined the phrase "STEAM - The World's STANDARD Power."

    This has not changed.

    Joe in NH

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pathogen View Post

    Nuclear Energy heats water to STEAM POWER, won't be giving up the old ways for a long time to come and when we do we can learn how to make fire again.
    Direct conversion from Nuclear to electricity has been worked on for many years,
    some with a bit of success.

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    I have my own view points on this, it's all well and good to collect vintage machines, lord knows I have more than most.

    But going so far as to blatantly ignore the world changing around you and expect a place to be made for you, is asking a bit much.

    I've meet ONE man who's dealt with the issue of dealing with his extensive machine collection sanely. And I will take his example will I need to get rid of machines in the next 50-60 years. And before then I will have a detailed will with valuations, and instructions in case I pass unexpectedly.

    The family farm got lost when my Dad was in college, and he worked very hard to try and build it back (in spite of many good reasons not to do so), and swore he would never leave a mess for someone to clean up after him.

    Well he left a mess, it wasn't his fault, he didn't plan to pass away young. But the effect is the same. I've had a half finished farm, machine shop and several lifetimes worth of crap dumped on to me in the middle of engineering school.

    Granted, I could have walked away, I'm perhaps a little too starry eyed about this stuff to let it die. But the last year and half have not been easy. I'm still cleaning up/organizing crap, and probably will be for a while.

    I don't have much sympathy, aging and death is pretty much the only certainty in life, but many ignore it and the victims are the machines and people who've got to clean up the mess afterwards.

    TBH, I looked through the catalog, while sad, I recognize a lot of stuff from his old videos. Most isn't worth much, some stuff on the last couple of pages looked nice, but the majority is non-significant detritus.
    Last edited by alskdjfhg; 03-06-2018 at 01:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pressbrake1 View Post
    The greedy scroat was asking a million for the place, and now recons some old whitworth spanners are worth money.

    I imagine my daughters will call the scrappy to clear my empire of dirt
    greedy scroat says it all, ..I was told by someone I knew and trusted (he didn't BS on such things) , back in the early 1990's Dibnah was approached to be the guest speaker at a Model Engineering Society's diamond anniversary meeting.

    He would oblige, be delighted to in fact, for £1500 (<>$2000) plus expenses - which included 1st class travel and over night accommodation.

    Suffice to say Dibnah was not the speaker! ..................and his heirs, successors and general hangers on are still trying to screw every penny they can.

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    I've watched as many shows as possible, online and downloads


    I've never actually seen his lathe or other machines.





    If you watch them, one of his exwives does tell you, he was a skint bastard. never paid for a round until she shamed him into it.

    I wish I had the ability to scrounge like he does.


    He can be quite witty, charming and a good salesman, I'm not sure how that lines up with the autism spectrum



    I expect those red ladders and his signs will get big bids.
    They are identifiable, some pub can hang it on the wall or something.


    Let's see some of his machines or links to the videos I'm missing please.


    List of all his shows

    Filmography
    Fred Dibnah: Steeplejack (1979)
    Fred (1983)
    Fred – A Disappearing World (1983)
    A Year with Fred (1987)
    A Year with Fred – New Horizons (1991)
    Life With Fred (1994)
    The Ups and Downs of Chimneys (1994)
    The Fred Dibnah Story (1996)
    Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age (1999)
    Fred Dibnah's Magnificent Monuments (2000)
    Fred Dibnah's Victorian Heroes (2001)
    Fred Dibnah's Getting Steamed Up (2001)
    Fred Dibnah's Building of Britain (2002)
    Fred Dibnah's Age of Steam (2003)
    Dig with Dibnah (2004)
    A Tribute to Fred Dibnah (2004)
    Fred Dibnah's Made in Britain (2005)
    Fred Dibnah's World of Steam, Steel and Stone (2006)



    Shows I'm missing

    Fred (1983)
    Fred – A Disappearing World (1983)
    A Year with Fred (1987)
    A Year with Fred – New Horizons (1991)
    Life With Fred (1994)
    Fred Dibnah's Victorian Heroes (2001)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    greedy scroat says it all, ..I was told by someone I knew and trusted (he didn't BS on such things) , back in the early 1990's Dibnah was approached to be the guest speaker at a Model Engineering Society's diamond anniversary meeting.

    He would oblige, be delighted to in fact, for £1500 (<>$2000) plus expenses - which included 1st class travel and over night accommodation.

    Suffice to say Dibnah was not the speaker! ..................and his heirs, successors and general hangers on are still trying to screw every penny they can.
    I found fred interesting but I have two stories of greed

    A pal of mine has a traction engine and a pub over in essex. Fred popped in whilst doing the infamous canvey demo to look at the engine. My pal let him have a free slate ie no charge and Fred could knock em back and a nice meal. When Fred was about to leave my pal asked him for a autograph...Fred said yes £20! after pouring half a dozen free pints down his neck!!!!

    Fred liked to ponce free stuff and avoided paying but sure knew how to charge, he died a milionaire.

    I know a low loader driver he knocked as well.

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    "Greedy scroat", had a good laugh at that one, don't recall ever hearing or reading it before. Known a few folks like that, and been burned a time or two as well. Interestingly, those individuals who have done me a bit of a bad turn, but had pretty much the same qualities as this fellow, wit, charisma, intelligence, didn't leave me with feelings of animosity towards them. I just chalked it up, and made mental note that I would not allow them to get their digs into me again.

    Will have to watch his videos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdleach View Post

    Will have to watch his videos.
    Free off of U-toob of course....

    Maybe someone should pirate all of the videos, and post
    them for free viewing....that would get the family up in knots eh ?

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    I think Joe Michaels is on to something. Truth be known, I would bet that a significant number of us that post on this forum reside somewhere "on the spectrum".

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    I think friend of mine summed Fred Dibnah up perfectly ;- ''Thank god he's not my neigbour''

    FYI ;- Scroat or Scrote Urban Dictionary: Scroat

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdleach View Post
    I think Joe Michaels is on to something. Truth be known, I would bet that a significant number of us that post on this forum reside somewhere "on the spectrum".
    Without a doubt. I think it is a prerequisite for this type of work.

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    now i'm feeling a bit guilty, i didn't mean to bring about a debate into how awful a neighbour he must have been!
    I agree with all that's been said, though definitely have enjoyed watching him on telly over the years.
    I was thinking, as Matt observed, many lots were now junk, but i bet a good bit of those came from some of the most interesting places, places like Mitchells of Bolton, millwrights since the mid 19c.
    It does seem a shame when that information is lost? Perhaps we are just collecting for our own interest and after that it will all end up where it would have gone had we not made the effort in the first place?
    As mentioned the sale notes major on the late owner, hardly a single mention of previous history.

    Richard

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruston3w View Post
    As mentioned the sale notes major on the late owner, hardly a single mention of previous history.

    Richard
    But the sale is being run by your typical British wanker outfit of auctioneers - isn't it?..........read though the lot descriptions and it's patently clear - the twat who put that catalogue together, didn't know one end of a shovel from the other end of the hole up his ass.
    Last edited by Limy Sami; 03-07-2018 at 04:09 AM. Reason: typo


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