I came across a lovely site the other day with some great industrial heritage paintings from around Lancashire.
The site http://www.industrialinspirations.co.uk/ is owned by Phil Frain and was created by his wife Denise. There are paintings and prints available to buy and as you can see there are even some featuring Mr Dibnah himself!
Phil is a proud Lancastrian, born in Bury and brought up with huge crumbling Victorian mills and factories surrounding him as his playground. By the age of nine, Phil was rather an independent young man and loved nothing more than wandering around Bury’s dying industrial heritage sketching and painting all that he could see.
Around this time he met a local garage owner called Mr Haslewood. Mesmerized by the sight of a green painted steam engine he’d spied inside the garage, Phil asked if he could polish it. Mr Haslewood gladly obliged, delighted that a lad so young was interested in the engine.
Later that day another green steam engine came chuffing into the yard. A small muscular chap with an oil soaked cap jumped off the engine and greeted Mr Haslewood, who in turn told him that it was young Phil who’d polished up the engine so beautifully. “Eh up cock yer doin’ a reet good job on John’s engine. When you’ve done maybe you’ll polish mine, which is also an Aveling, but a steam roller” This was Phil’s first introduction to Bolton Steeplejack Fred Dibnah.
Phil now lives in Fred’s home town of Bolton, but is still immensely proud of his Bury roots. He has become increasingly saddened about the loss of Bury’s industry and heritage but it has inspired him to recapture those historic millscapes in his paintings. I am sure you’ll agree he’s done a great job.
The painting shown is from a moment during our filming in London May 2004 for Fred Dibnah’s Made in Britain, when Fred went down to collect his MBE from the Queen. The DVD with this London footage can be purchased from our shop and don’t forget there’s a free Dibnah gift with every purchase.