Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre and former home for sale at £1.25m
PUBLISHED: 16:06 01 December 2012 | UPDATED: 12:15 28 February 2013
Fred Dibnah's home was saved from dereliction and turned into a heritage centre. Now it's one of the most unusual properties on sale in the north west
When you live above the shop, you must be prepared for work to encroach on your leisure time. But when home pretty much is the shop, then it takes someone with great organisational skills or infinite patience. And probably both.
Thats the task that could face anyone who has 1.25m to buy 121 Radcliffe Road in Bolton. The property is better known as the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre, the former home of one of Lancashires most loveable eccentrics.
The steeplejack, who rose to even greater heights as a television broadcaster, died eight years ago after turning the three bedroom property into a repository for vast quantities of engineering odds and ends, many of them oily, some of them rusty, all of them precious to Fred.
It lay empty for four years until Dibnah devotee and insurance broker Leon Powsney and his wife, Jan, rescued it. They purchased it for a relatively modest sum but spent a small fortune putting it right before getting planning consent and then complying with health and safety legislation so they could open it up.
Now they are keen to move on, having reached the age when they want a more leisurely lifestyle. Im very sad to be leaving, but we dont really have any option, said Leon. We dont have the energy for it any more.
Ive tried to get some of the countrys major companies interested in putting money into the trust, but there havent been any takers. My great desire is that it remains as a heritage centre preserving Freds legacy.
Fred always wanted the property turned into a museum. We made Freds dream come true now we are looking for someone to do the same for us, said Leon.
Running it as a profitable business is an option. Leon and Jan restricted the number of tours to one a day but they still get about 50 coach trips a year, resulting in a turnover of around 100,000. That could comfortably double, they believe.
While running the centre is likely to be hard work, there is a band of keen volunteers who are prepared to help with upkeep and act as tour guides to preserve Freds memory.
And who else can say they have a home with a hydraulic hammer and a garden with a 70ft mine shaft and a 50ft chimney?