When did they stop using boys to clean chimneys?
Some used their own children (both boys and girls) as young as four or five years old to go up chimneys. Finally in 1864 after many years of campaigning an Act of Parliament finally approved by the House of Lords, outlawing the use of children for climbing chimneys.
Why were small children used to sweep chimneys?
This practice of sending small boys up and down chimneys in order to ensure that they were free of harmful creosote deposits was the norm in England for approximately 200 years. The use of child chimney sweeps became widespread after the Great Fire of London, which occurred in September of 1666.
How much did child chimney sweeps get paid?
From 1773, master chimney sweeps regularly kept anywhere from 2 to 20 children, depending on how many they could use for their business. For each child, the master sweep was paid 3-4 pounds by the government when the apprenticeship agreement was signed.
What kind of people were chimney sweeps?
The chimney sweep, or climbing boys as they were often called, was a harsh profession to be in and most likely one that would severely cut your life short. Those employed were often orphans or from impoverished backgrounds, sold into the job by their parents.
What age did chimney sweeps have to be after the chimney sweep 1875?
The small boys used as chimney sweeps were typically between 5 and 10 years of age, and some were as young as 4 years old. They clambered up chimneys with brushing and scraping tools that knocked the creosote and soot from the chimney lining.
Which country used boys of African descent as chimney sweeps?
Boys were also used in the United States, where, both before and after the abolition of slavery, they were often African-Americans. Elsewhere, such as in Scotland and Russia, the more usual method was to lower a weighted brush down the flue on a rope. Boys were rarely (if at all) used in Germany.
What was life like for chimney sweeps?
Child chimney sweeps were required to crawl through chimneys which were only about 18 inches wide. Sometimes their cold-hearted masters would light fires to spur the sweeps on to climb more quickly. Only young children could fit through the narrow spaces on the inside of the chimneys.
When did Britain ban the use of climbing boys as chimney sweeps?
A bill was pushed through Parliament in September 1875 which put an end to the practice of using children as human chimney sweeps in England. George Brewster was the last child to die in a chimney.
Why are chimney sweeps lucky?
According to legend, in 1066 a chimney sweep saved the life of King William of Britain. The sweep “swept” the king to safety from a runaway carriage. To this day, it’s considered good luck to invite a sweep to your wedding or other special occasion.