THE date of the auction to sell off items from the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre has been revealed.

Leon Powsney, owner of the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre in Radcliffe Road, will put various items belonging to the legendary steeplejack up for auction on Saturday, March 17 at 10am.

Cheshire-based Adam Partridge Auctioneers and Valuers, along with Ashley Waller Auctioneers, will carry out the sell-off and a viewing day at the centre will be held the day before on Friday, March 16 from 10am to 4pm.

Mr Powsney said: "While I am sad to be leaving this wonderful place, I am happy in the knowledge that many of Fred’s true fans and followers will now be able to own something that belonged to him."

Items to be offered include a fully working stationary steam engine called Kathleen, a Cincinatti lathe and the boiler from steam engine Betsy, which has been converted into a wood burner.

These are among hundreds of other important items including the iconic red ladders and tools that Fred used.

Auctioneer Adam Partridge said: "I am excited to be involved in such a landmark auction.

"It is not often that one has a chance to sell such a unique collection. Not only is Fred a local hero but he is a national icon."

Mr Powsney and his wife Jan bought the 155-year-old home and the heritage centre in 2008 for £185,000 and spent thousands creating the centre, dedicated to Fred's love of steam.

It opened in 2010, six years after the historian's death, giving visitors the chance to see the home, the garden and all of Fred's tools and machinery.

As well as tours of the centre and the house — offering paying visitors the opportunity to have a cup of tea in Fred's kitchen — he even provided a self-catering bedroom for visitors from further afield.

The house and heritage centre had been put up for sale last year for £650,000 but a buyer could not be found.

He said: "I have brought Fred's home and workplace back to life over the last eight years from virtual dereliction into a successful and very popular visitor attraction, dedicated to the memory of a great man.

"I have tried so hard to find a buyer to carry the centre on into the future but unfortunately this has not been possible, having tried absolutely everything possible at great cost to myself mentally, physically and financially."

"Opening the heritage centre was a massive risk for me personally and financially, and I now having turned age 70 this year I need to get back to some form of normality so my wife and I can enjoy what years we have left in peace."

Adam Patridge will not be not auctioning off the home itself.

For more information on the auction, contact Adam Partridge Auctioneers and Valuers on 01625431788 or Ashley Waller on 01477 571001.