Widow of Fred Dibnah to sign copies of new memoir at Bradford Industrial Museum (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Widow of Fred Dibnah to sign copies of new memoir at Bradford Industrial Museum
10:00am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
The widow of much-loved steeplejack Fred Dibnah will sign copies of her new memoir at Bradford Industrial Museum this weekend.
Sheila Dibnah’s memoir, A Cast Iron Will, reveals the story of her marriage to Fred, whose ability to demolish chimneys and lovingly restore vintage machinery was documented in a number of television programmes.
The book details the first meeting between the rough-hewn engineer and former magician’s assistant through to their final days when Fred was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
She will be signing copies of the book – which will also be available for sale – at the Bradford Council-run Museum on Sunday, between 11am and 4pm. Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member responsible for culture, said: “Bradford Industrial Museum is the ideal setting for a book-signing about a man who loved steam engineering, Victorian ingenuity and vintage machinery.”
Frederick ‘Fred’ Dibnah MBE was born in Bolton in 1938 and became a steeplejack with a keen interest in mechanical engineering.
He became a television personality in 1978 when a regional BBC news crew filmed him while he was repairing Bolton Town Hall.
The channel then commissioned an award-winning documentary, which followed him as he worked on chimneys, interacted with his family and talked about steam engineering.
His gentle manner and self-taught philosophical outlook proved popular with viewers and he featured in a number of television programmes, including Fred Dibnah’s Age of Steam and Fred Dibnah’s Industrial Age.
The decline of Britain’s industry was mirrored by a decline in his steeplejacking business and towards the end of his life Fred increasingly relied on after-dinner speaking for his income.
He died in 2004 at the age of 66.
Bradford Industrial Museum, which is located in Moorside Mills in Eccleshill, is open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm.
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