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May 28 , 2008

Fred Dibnah - Made in Britain


In 2004, after felling his last chimney and retiring from steeplejacking, Fred took to the road on his beloved traction engine for the BBC series Made in Britain. Travelling the length and breadth of the country, the intention was to seek out the remarkable achievements of the craftsmen, engineers, inventors and industrial workers whose endeavour made engines like Fred's possible. It was a journey that took him to Britain's most iconic engineering marvels as well as less familiar sites: from the Forth Bridge and the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge to Europe's last deep-working iron ore mine in Cumbria and a local castings workshop in Bo'ness.

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On 6 February 1958, British European Airways flight 609 crashed in a blizzard on its third attempt to take off from an icy runaway in Munich. On board were the Manchester United football team as well as a number of journalists and other passengers. News of the disaster sent shockwaves around the world. For people who lived in Manchester at the…

This behind-the-scenes account of that ambitious journey is made all the more remarkable by Fred's heroic efforts to complete it while suffering from terminal cancer. It is not only a glorious testament to our nation's industrial achievements but also a story of the friendships, unfailing courage and determination of the nation's favourite steeplejack.

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