Wind water and steam The early forms of power. At Saxtead Green Post Mill, Suffolk and Muncaster Mill and in Cumbria, Fred finds craftsmen and women who continue to use wind and water as a source of energy to successfully maintain their business. Fred demonstrates his own skills with examples of his own restoration work, and discusses the importance of conservation with other like minded steam enthusiasts.
Mill and factories Fred Dibnah's home town of Bolton was once a forest of cotton milling factories. Fred recalls his experiences when growing up within this industrial environment and explores the evolution of the factory from the machinery used in these mills.
Iron and steel Fred introduces this programme from Ironbridge where the industrial revolution began. From this birthplace we are shown how all industries advanced from iron wheels for locomotion to the pit head winding gear for mining. In Sheffield, synonymous with quality steel, Fred drives the mighty Don Valley engine.
Mining Fred visits some of the derelict sites of old working mines and those preserved including Big Pit, South Wales and the Scottish Mining Museum Midlothian. He explains the camaraderie and social effects of Miners working together for long hours in such dangerous environments. Underground we see further into conditions men, women and children had to endure and how the steam engines pumped water from the workings so that they could be mined at even lower depths.
Railways Fred recalls his early excitement for steam locomotives as they roared past his bedroom window at night, the driver's face lit only by the firebox. From Trevithick's first steam locomotive, Stephenson's Rocket to the LMS Black Fives, Fred relishes the invitations to ride them all. Fred is also introduced to a new generation where locomotives are being built with computer technology.
Ships and shipbuilding The skill of the shipbuilders and engineers made Britain into a great manufacturing nation. Bristol, Fred visits the SS Great Britain and pays tribute to his hero Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The world's first production line in Leiston, Suffolk and the "Suffolk Punch" Traction engine, and of course Fred drives and enthuses over his pride and joy, the "Aveling & Porter" steam roller. Fred ends his journey in a modern garden centre where all the power is provided by steam.