What was it like to be a chimney sweep in Victorian times?

Chimney sweeping was a job children could do better than adults. Small boys (starting at the age of 5 or 6 years) would be sent scrambling up inside the chimney to scrape and brush soot away. They came down covered in soot, and with bleeding elbows and knees. Some boys got stuck and died of suffocation.

How much did a chimney sweep get paid in Victorian times?

Families would work together in a team and the amount of money they earned depended on how much coal they brought up to the surface. A chimney sweep in the Victorian Era got paid about 10 Shillings in Europe.

What was life like for a chimney sweep?

The living conditions of the chimney sweeps offered them no relief. They were usually barely fed and slept in basements, covering themselves with the filthy soot sacks they worked with. The boys rarely bathed and were frequently sickly.

Can girls be chimney sweeps?

But the business of chimney sweeping has changed: in 2019 it’s far more hi-tech than simply poking brushes up chimneys – and it’s not just men who are doing it. According to the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps, there are currently 18 female members, which represents about 4% of the total membership.

How many hours did Victorian chimney sweeps work?

Due to a lack of proper ventilation, coal dust was very thick in the air. Considering that Victorian Children would work from 12 to 18 hours a day it is easy to see how respiratory problems could arise.

What happened to sweeps who grew too large?

Children who worked as chimney sweeps generally ranged from as young as 4 to about 10 years old, when they grew too big to fit down the tiny chimneys anymore. The children were often times underfed by their bosses to keep them skinny enough to fit in the extremely narrow chimneys.

Why do chimney sweeps wear top hats?

This story says that beginning in the 17th century, funeral directors would take pity on these poor children being forced to crawl up chimneys. To help raise both their status and their morale, they gave them the extra top hats that would have otherwise been disposed of.

How much did children get paid in Victorian times?

Many children got just 5 shillings (25p) a week, or less. While thousands of children worked down the mine, thousands of others worked in the cotton mills.

When were child chimney sweeps abolished?

In the early 1830s, as Parliament became more preoccupied generally with the exploitation of child labour, the Chimney Sweeps Act was passed in 1834 outlawing the apprenticing of any child below the age of ten. Furthermore, no child was to be actually engaged in cleaning chimneys under the age of 14.

How old were chimney sweeps in Victorian times?

These were between the ages of 5 and 10, although most were under the age of seven, and some were even as young as four. These boys were used to climb up chimneys to clean out deposits of soot. The chimney sweep master taught them the trade while being responsible for feeding, clothing and housing them.

Why is it good luck to shake hands with a chimney sweep?

The Chimney Sweep and the Wedding In this story, a chimney sweep fell and was dangling from the roof. A woman in the house spotted him and pulled him to safety. They immediately fell in love and had a long and happy marriage. Because of this, it became considered good luck to shake a sweep’s hand before your wedding.

Why is it good luck to see a chimney sweep on your wedding day?

Wedding Sweep Tradition has it that 200 years ago, a chimney sweep saved the life of King George II by stopping his runaway horse and carriage. So started the tradition and because sweeps are lucky, couples would arrange to meet the sweep at their Wedding.

What was it like to be a chimney sweep in the Victorian era?

Being a chimney sweep in the Victorian era was a poor existence for many children who were required to clean chimneys for a living. Some of the boys who carried out this work were as young as 3-4 years old and had to work in sooty, unhealthy conditions. Their small bodies and frame made them the perfect size for entering and cleaning the chimneys.

What happens in the second episode of chimney sweeps?

In the second episode Charlie recounts a visit to sweep the chimneys of a big London house. Charlie is climbing in the last chimney when he becomes stuck in the flue…and begins to panic.

How did Charlie get stuck in the last chimney?

Charlie is climbing in the last chimney when he becomes stuck in the flue…and begins to panic. George, the master sweep, suggests he does it ‘in the buff’ – but Charlie is completely stuck and fears he is about to endure every climbing boy’s worst nightmare.

When did it become illegal to climb up a chimney?

In 1840 The Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Act stated that it was no longer legal for those under the age of 21 to climb or enter a chimney for the purpose of cleaning it. Although this was the law, many were still forced into the chimneys!