Man with home full of model boats forced to auction them as house is ‘safety risk’

75-year-old Pete Dixon, who spent 40 years of his life working on trawlers as a cook, has an incredible 600 model boats at his rented home in Grimsby

Pete Dixon’s house is full of model boats

A man whose house is full of model boats has decided to auction them off after his house was branded a “major safety risk”.

Pete Dixon, 75, who spent 40 years of his life working on trawlers as a cook, acquired an incredible 600 model boats over the years which he kept around his rented home on Heneage Road in Grimsby.

From floor to ceiling, Pete’s home is full of the boats – he even keeps some in the bath because he ran out of space.

He made the bold decision to auction off the majority of them when his landlord could not carry out work on the house because of the boats getting in the way, and when inspectors subsequently branded the property a ‘major safety risk’.







Pete who spent 40 years of his life working on trawlers as a cook
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Grimsby Live / MEN Media)

On June 19, 401 of Pete’s boats will be auctioned off to the public at Prestige Auctions on Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby.

Pete took his smaller sailing boats that did not meet the grade of the auction to Sidney Park on his mobility scooter and put them in the pond, before calling people over and telling them to help themselves.







From floor to ceiling, Pete’s home is full of the boats – he even keeps some in the bath because he ran out of space
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Grimsby Live / MEN Media)

Carl Vince, owner of Prestige Auctions, told Grimsby Live: “Pete Dixon has been a customer of ours ever since we first started. He’s a proper character, he spent 40 years on the trawlers as a cook and did a bit in the Merchant Navy.

We’ve always known him as ‘Pete the boat buyer’. I nicknamed him the resident boat buyer because every time there was a boat, he felt like he needed to buy it.







He made the bold decision to auction off the majority of them when his landlord could not carry out work on the house
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Grimsby Live / MEN Media)

“There’s no doubt about it – it became an obsession. Nobody was going to argue with Pete in the auction room when it came to a boat.

“We never quite understood just how many boats Pete had. He came to me and said, ‘Look, Carl, I’m going to have to get rid of some of my boats’.

“I spoke to the council to let them know we had a plan in place to help sort the situation out, and at that point, Prestige Auctions was going to take a few boats and make it safe for everybody.







Most of the collection is based around old Grimsby trawlers
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“Pete walked in the next day and said, ‘No, I’ve decided I’m getting rid of them all. If I’m getting rid of some, they’re all going’.

“And my goodness, when I walked into that place I couldn’t believe it. It’s crazy. But he decided he wanted to get rid of them and we told him we’d help him with that. As an ex-trawlerman himself, most of his collection is based around the old Grimsby trawlers.







‘These boats aren’t small – they’re huge. They’re absolutely fascinating’
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“I’ve spoken to lots of people in the model boating fraternity, shall we say, and nobody can think of a collection like this that one person has owned. It’s something quite special.

“These boats aren’t small – they’re huge. They’re absolutely fascinating.

“Pete is a beautiful guy, he’s a proper Grimbarian. He’s everything about Grimsby. He’s wonderful. Nobody can say anything bad about Pete in our auction room because everyone loves him – but he’s just got to get rid of his collection.

“But there has never been another house like it with this sort of thing. It’s unheard of.”

Carl continued: “There will be 401 of Pete’s boats at the auction. When we first went into the property there were more than 600 boats, but a load of his smaller sailing boats that he had – he’s got a mobility scooter and he took these down to Sidney Park pond and shouted to all the kids, ‘Help yourself’, and all the kids took them.







‘Despite what he paid for them in the past, he just wants to know that they’re going to someone who wants to look after them’
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“And then he just drove off. It was such a nice thing to do.

“And let’s not forget how much this collection has cost Pete. It’s cost him tens of thousands of pounds over the last 30 years. The first thing I asked him was how much he wanted us to reserve his boats at, and he said, ‘I don’t. I just want people to enjoy them’.







‘My house will feel strange without the boats at first, until I start something new’
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“Most people I talk to, it’s all about the value. But with Pete, it’s not about that. Despite what he paid for them in the past, he just wants to know that they’re going to someone who wants to look after them.”

Pete is hoping to purchase a boat of his own on Alexandra Dock with the money acquired from selling his model boats.

He told Prestige Auctions that when he dies, he then wants them to sell the boat and donate all the funds to the Fisherman’s Mission.

Pete told Grimsby Live: “As an ex-fisherman, I was collecting little bits at car boots and auctions and it just escalated from there. I love it. But a certain person from a certain place called it a fire risk and all that business, so I thought the time was right to get rid. It’s got to happen sometime, so it might as well happen now.







On Sunday, June 19, 401 of Pete’s boats will be auctioned off to the public at Prestige Auctions on Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby
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Grimsby Live / MEN Media)

“There was quite a few small boats and I put them all in bags, jumped on my scooter and went down to Sidney Park and chucked them in the pond. They all stayed afloat and the kids in there went beserk, collecting them up left, right and centre.

“I loved every minute of being on the trawlers, I didn’t want to come home. I had four sisters at home. My house will feel strange without the boats at first, until I start something new.

“I’m always thinking about something new. But collecting the boats, it was an obsession. If I saw a boat, I must have it. It’s a big step to get rid of them, but it had to be done.”

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