IT really is a case of full steam ahead to restore Fred Dibnah's place to its former industrial glory.

The Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre has launched a fundraising drive power up the machinery using steam, exactly the same way the celebrated steeplejack and broadcaster did.

A target of £20,000 has been set for a new boiler appeal and if the centre can reach 75 per cent of the target, it will qualify for lottery funding to cover the rest.

Leon Powsney from the centre said: "We have local people visit but we have visitors from Dorset, Scotland, Lincoln, Belfast — we have hundreds of visitors from across the country.

"Many have said they will come back to visit once it is back in steam.

"Once the centre is back in steam it could be the only stream driven work yard in the country."

The boiler will be environmentally friendly and not coal fired and used to showcase the machinery and not as a work place, as was the case for Fred.

Mr Powsney said: "I've had the idea to bring the place back in steam since the beginning but there have been other jobs to do.

"If each of Fred's fans could donate £10 or £5 we could meet the target.

"People think someone else will donate.

"This is such an important piece of history in Bolton and our national history."

Since acquiring Fred's house, Mr Powsney and the team at the heritage centre say they have worked hard to restore the place after it was left to go derelict.

Repairs have been carried out on the 50ft chimney and the stationary steam engine has been refurbished. Fred had intended to use the engine to power the site and once the place is "back to steam" the engine will drive the whole site including machinery.

But Fred's old boiler was beyond repair and the money will fund a replacement, reconditioned boiler to bring Fred's work yard back to life and become the last remaining completely steam driven workyard left in the UK.

Mr Powsney said: "I wanted to keep the boiler because it was Fred's boiler and that was important to me, but I had experts in and they said it was not going to happen its been left for ten years, it's past its sell by date but I've kept the front of it because its such an interesting artefact for people to see.

"We need the boiler to provide the steam to power up all the machinery just like. I am determined to see this place back in steam again just as when Fred had it."

Mark Winrow, tour guide at the heritage centre, said:"For me as a Boltonian to get Fred Dibnah's garden back up and running on steam all this machinery driven by steam.

"It will bring interest to our town, it will keep the name of Fred Dibnah alive and keep the steam age alive in this area."

To support the appeal and watch a video of Fred at work visit