View Full Version : Freds last Prog

tony draper
17th May 2005, 20:13
Alack and alas shall we see his likes again,sad sad, He represented the men of last hundred years that actually built this country, men in flat caps with dirt and grease under their finger nails,with spanners hammers chisels and set square not statesmen not politicians nor religious leaders,all they were good for was blabber,the chaps who actually did the work.
Fred should be cannonised, made St Fred,patron saint of all shed owners.


17th May 2005, 20:14
.....the hell you talkin 'bout Beef Drapes???

17th May 2005, 20:18

17th May 2005, 20:31
Tony's 'talking 'bout' a real hero, rightly and justly honoured by our Queen & Country. The TV programme charting Fred's last great public outing has just finished on the BBC - an hour of bliss, with the added bonus of no adverts!!!

After the end of the prog, which I had to watch in the kitchen, I couldn't find a seat in the lounge, I was advised 'the shed's unlocked'.

An Englishman's shed is his castle. Although there's no TV down there, but stereo speakers & a radio's good enough to work by (and a 2kw heater for chilly evenings...)

Mine's currently got a Hawker Hunter ducted fan model, a 48" Tiger Moth and a 3' sailing boat nearing completion. In current flying state are a de Havilland Vampire, Hawker Hurricane, SE5a, and a couple of Sports models, all electric powered.

I'm sure none of the above would have been quite up Fred's street, I'm sure he would have appreciated the urge to create a working mechanical device from more basic materials.

Every man needs a shed. Fred's was a rather open-air affair!

The Odd One

17th May 2005, 20:34
Ah - shed talk....

Cool :ok:

Is it true that:

Behind every man in a shed is a wife who doesn't understand him...

17th May 2005, 20:34
He represented the men of last hundred years that actually built this country, men in flat caps with dirt and grease under their finger nails,with spanners hammers chisels and set square

You got it right their Admiral.

I was brought up to be proud that we built ships on our river and dug coal out of the land under our feet. Now they've shut shipyards and closed the mines (and no doubt it made economic sense to do so - as well as them being dirty and dangerous) but part of the soul of the country died with the loss of heavy industry.

17th May 2005, 20:50
Is it true that

Behind every man in a shed is a wife who doesn't understand him...


Unfortunately, Mrs Odd One understands me all too well!!!


17th May 2005, 20:59
Ah, Fred

If only we could put him into production in some vast industrial plant "ooop North". That`d set the country right.

Irish Steve
17th May 2005, 23:11
That`d set the country right.

It might, but I fear that the combined weight of the Health & Safety executive, allied with the labour relations commision, aided and abetted by the EU working time limitations directive would all combine to utterly and completely frustrate people like Fred.

If you look at things like the way he used to get up chimneys, and demolish them, H & S would be having freak attacks.

Then there's his workshop. No way would a place like that be allowed here any more.

I could go on, there's a load of other things that would also get in the way, but I fear the answer is clear. If the entire working population was more like Fred, you can bet your sweet life that the Civil Servants would find either way to stop them, or a way to tax them more!

tony draper
17th May 2005, 23:20
Hee hee, liked what he said about the University Engineering faculty where he was granted a Honoury Degree,
"It were full of Chinamen and girls"
hee hee, gloriously politically incorrect.

Scumbag O'Riley
18th May 2005, 08:48
He would have liked the Imperial College Bar of olde then.

Full of men, and men, and men, and more men. Any women who got into that place was going to get laid even if they were a lard bucket with a face like the back end of a bus.

But they could put out 15 footie teams on a Saturday, and everybody could drink 10 pints and not become a yob. The rag mags were classic non PC stuff too, brilliant.

18th May 2005, 08:52
Things have changed at Imperial then. Took number one son up there for an interview this year and half the students showing people around were female.

18th May 2005, 08:57
What a fine end, to a fine, but all too short broadcasting career.

There are all too few broadcasters who can impart knowledge in a way that captures the attention, and gets information into the head effortlessly - whilst being entertaining.

No gadgets, no fancy graphics, or computer generation - just good old fashioned, imaginative use of the english language.

He'll not be replaced, not because they're anen't others like him, but because broadcasters are more interested today in image than substance.

RIP Fred. Hope your engine's being well looked after!

18th May 2005, 09:28
Aye; shed a tear for good old Fred... :(

18th May 2005, 09:46
He'll not be replaced, not because they're anen't others like him, but because broadcasters are more interested today in image than substance

I seem to remember Jeremy Clarkson putting forward a very passionate case for Brunel as the Greatest Briton in History. Perhaps there are still those amongst the broadcasting industry who shall continue to educate, inform, and entertain us about our unique industrial heritage and history.

But history it is, and to quote a famous ppruner, "Nothing lasts forever but the certainty of change".

Windy Militant
18th May 2005, 09:47
My favorite quote was when He wanted to learn how to rivet to rebuild his traction engine.

Fred: Got any good riviters?
Works manager: No, all the good riviters are dead.
(slight pause)
Fred: got any not so bad ones still alive!


18th May 2005, 10:04
A true engineer of the old school.Anything CAN be fixed or utilised for something else..no waste or "It needs a new one" with Fred.
His explanations made things understandable,his technical drawing were an art form.
He was a National Heritage and IMHO a proper Tech college should be set up and named after him,where skills that are dying out can be taught to each next generation.
Hope his children keep his engines running and his memory alive.
There's not a dry eye in our house when his prog is on.
Bet he's still telling stories up there.:ok:

18th May 2005, 10:43
My memory will always be the day he dropped a mill chimney in the old fashioned way by chiselling out the bricks at the bottom and propping the chimney with wooden pit props. He then set fire to the props and eventually the chimney fell taking everyone by surprise. People running in all directions and then Fred appears out of the dust with a big grin on his face and says,"Did you like that?"
An unassuming man who never worried about problems but just got the job done....

18th May 2005, 10:50
I never saw much of him, but I'm sure in my workline I'll view his many series with admiration.

I'm only 20, and I want a shed (albeit a big one that most people would call a factory)

B Fraser
18th May 2005, 10:54
I remember the very first series when he was scaling chimneys with a woodbine behind his ear and he described having to answer a call of nature at the top of a chimney in a howling gale while the car park some 200 foot below was "full of them flash motors".

I watch the final prog last night and had to smile when he scrounged a tenner off his kids and went into a London pub expecting to be able to buy a round of drinks.

I hope they put up a statue to him..... "A bloody great big 'un and all."

Cheerio Fred :)

18th May 2005, 11:14
This guy sounds just like the right person to sort out BRL's problem with his radio controlled car!!!! :ok: :ok: :ok:

18th May 2005, 11:33
Absolutely - he'd take out the electric motor and replace it with a coal fired boiler!

18th May 2005, 12:22
I just managed to catch it, I were building t'wardrobe in our lads bedroom....(Why am I talking like that, I'm from Wiltshire!) It was a truly wonderful tribute to the man, the like of which it will be hard to find again.

Got me thinking, the sort of things you'd never hear him say.....

"How big's that in millimeters then?"

"I'll just have a half of lager please"

"You want to put a semiconductor in there, it'll work much faster"

"No, we've no time for a cuppa now!"

"I'm not picking that up, I'll get me hands dirty"

"The Japanese/German/Taiwanese ones are much more reliable"

We'll never forget thee, lad!

18th May 2005, 13:05
I agree with Lasernigels idea about the tech college - it would be a much better monument than any statue.

I was really touched by the way Fred conducted himself - he obviously knew that time was runnng out, but he didn't show any sign of fear.
There was a scene where he and his son were sitting in the railway yard in Loughborough and Fred was reminiscing about his youth. I'm afraid that I must have got something in my eye at that point :{

Take care Fred.

Cornish Jack
18th May 2005, 15:42
I'm having considerable difficulty in believing that ANYONE could even consider mentioning one overgrown schoolkid wazzock in the same thread as Dr Frederick Dibnah (honorary degree in "back street spannering" from TWO Universities)!!!- I won't mention the name - it generates instant nausea:yuk:
As to the one and only (NOT REPLACEABLE) Fred, he was incapable of approaching any of his interests with anything other than 100% application. I still recall one of his earlier programmes when he was hand drilling rivet holes for his steam roller using the old style ratchet brace, sweat and limitless patience.... quite awe inspiring. Some of his 'band of brothers' who appeared in the various 'heritage' enterprises which he visited on his tour obviously have a similar sense of application but there was only one FRED. RIP and keep that cap on!!:ok:

18th May 2005, 16:08
I never saw Fred, but I like to think we can still produce new Freds. I had a client, farmer, grade 4 education, could neither read nor write. Beautiful farm.

His barn was better equipped than Rolls-Royce. Each Fall he would haul in a 1930s or 1940s combine, threshing machine or whatever from some dump, work on it in the barn all winter, and exhibit it "as new" at the agricultural show next summer.

When the local John Deere dealer had problems with new models, he would call in my man to fix them. I asked him how he did it.
"I look at the manual".
"Yes, but you can't read".
"I look at the pictures and I think about it".

He started a laundromat in town, paid $5.00 each at the dump for the washers and driers. Fixed them.

18th May 2005, 16:26
This new 12-part series was completed by Fred Dibnah before his death I expect it would have been difficult for him to finish it otherwise!:E


18th May 2005, 16:39
I expect it would have been difficult for him to finish it otherwise!

This is Fred Dibnah we are talking about Ozzie. He'd have found a way (probably involving a very large hammer and a steam engine).

Krystal n chips
18th May 2005, 17:52
Interesting postscript to last nights prog. An article on Granada about how all his beloved backyard "bits n pieces" are in need of a good home--preferably one that will keep them in working order--which includes the pit head winding gear as well btw.

The suggestion / hope expressed by his wife was that they could be relocated somewhere in Bolton as a form of memorial--a working one that is--to Fred--and I am sure many of us would agree with this given the fact that he was one of the best natural personalities seen on TV in recent years--as well as having a passion for his subject---and not him / herself in contrast to many I can think of :yuk:

Be interesting to see if this is followed up at all---I personally hope it is.

tony draper
18th May 2005, 20:05
No way the powers that be would agree to that,it would cost to much doncha know, forking out 20 Million for a square foot of canvas with a daub painted by some medieval foreign loon is ok though.

18th May 2005, 21:10
I just happened to catch the last 2/3 of this programme last night and I'm so glad I did.

Did anyone notice when he was signing autographs and they showed one of the papers he was signing, how beautiful his signature was? A real old fashioned scrolling copperplate work of art, nothing like the average scribble.

tony draper
18th May 2005, 21:50
My late uncle Hugh who was of the same generation had a beautifull copperplate hand,his writing was a pleasure to behold, he was a keen labour man and socialist all his life and was forever shooting off copperplate missives to various members of Parliament
I still have a reply to one of his letters in a scrawled hand on yellow notepaper with the Houses of Commons header

Dear Mr Draper.
Thank you for your letter,I will not waste the same time replying that you did writing

Cyril Smith, MP

Hee hee.

Capn Notarious
18th May 2005, 22:39
A DVD of all his programmes would be a testament to the man.

18th May 2005, 22:40
Always gratefully appreciated Fred's viewpoint on life in general.

I gained one hopeful thought from watching his programmes showing his yard and sheds. My garage is filled to overflowing with mechanical projects that WILL get finished one day (maybe), but I'm nowhere near as bad as Fred was, yet! :ok:

Just DON'T mention the autogyro project that is presently camouflaged as two old motorbikes and a garden windmill.

18th May 2005, 22:45
An excellent book entitled "Fred Dibnah Remembered" is available from a certain chain of High Street newsagents/booksellers. It's a really good read and packed with photographs, some of which were provided by Fred's family. The book contains details of the proposal to erect a statue of Fred in an extension to the building in Bolton town centre which houses the Hill Hargreaves steam engine. Information on how to contribute to the appeal is included.

Cap'n - Fred Dibnah DVDs are available from the usual retailers, or from specialist magazines. Try looking here (http://www.oldglory.co.uk)