08000199553

ServicesChimney Sweep >> – Dynamic Property Care UK

Arrange A Free Survey

Telephone Number : 0800 019 9553

Chimney Sweep

Chimney sweeps 1800s New York

A chimney sweep is a person who clears ash and soot from chimneys. The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion. Chimneys may be straight or contain many changes of direction. During normal operation, a layer of creosote builds up on the inside of the chimney, restricting the flow. The creosote can also catch fire, setting the chimney and the building alight. The chimney must be swept to remove the soot. This was done by the master sweep.

In Great Britain, the master sweeps took apprentices, typically workhouse or orphan boys, and trained them to climb chimneys.

History

With the increased urban population that came with the age of industrialisation, the number of houses with chimneys grew apace and the occupation of chimney sweep became much sought-after.

Buildings were higher and the new chimneys' tops were grouped together. The routes of flues from individual grates could involve two or more right angles and horizontal angled and vertical sections. The flues were made narrow to create a better draught, 14in by 9in being a common standard. Buckingham Palace had one flue with 15 angles, with the flue narrowing to 9in by 9in. Chimney sweeping was one of the more difficult, hazardous, and low-paying occupations of the era, and consequently has been derided in verse, ballad and pantomime.

The first mechanical sweeper was invented by George Smart in 1803 but was resisted in the UK and the US. Joseph Glass marketed an improved sweeping machine in 1828; he is credited with being the inventor of the modern chimney sweep's brush. In the northern US, whites gave up the trade and employed black sweep-boys from the South. After regulation finally took hold in 1875 in the UK and the turn of the century in the US, the occupation became romanticized in popular media.

Great Britain

Boys as young as four climbed hot flues that could be as narrow as 81 square inches (9x9 inches or 23x23 cm). Work was dangerous and they could get jammed in the flue, suffocate or burn to death. As soot is carcinogenic, and as the boys slept under the soot sacks and were rarely washed, they were prone to chimney sweeps' carcinoma. From 1775 onwards there was increasing concern for the welfare of the boys, and Acts of Parliament were passed to restrict, and in 1875 to stop this usage. Lord Shaftesbury, the philanthropist, led the later campaign.

Chimneys started to appear in Britain around 1200, when they replaced the open fire burning in the middle of the one room house. At first there would be one heated room in the building and chimneys would be large. Over the next four hundred years, rooms became specialized and smaller and many were heated. Sea coal started to replace wood, and it deposited a layer of flammable creosote in the inside surface of the flue, and caked it with soot. Whereas before, the chimney was a vent for the smoke, now the plume of hot gas was used to suck air into the fire, and this required narrower flues. Even so, boys rarely climbed chimneys before the Great Fire of London, when building regulations were put in place and the design of chimneys was altered. The new chimneys were often angular and narrow, and the usual dimension of the flue in domestic properties was 9 inches (23 cm) by 14 inches (36 cm). The master sweep was unable to climb into such small spaces himself and employed climbing boys to go up the chimneys to dislodge the soot. The boys often 'buffed it', that is, climbed in the nude, propelling themselves by their knees and elbows which were scraped raw. They were often put up hot chimneys, and sometimes up chimneys that were alight in order to extinguish the fire.

Sweeps festivals

The London boys had one day's holiday a year, the first of May, (Mayday) International Labour Day. They celebrated by parading through the streets, dancing and twisting with Jack in the Green, merging several folk traditions. There is also a Sweeps Festival in Santa Maria Maggiore, in Italy and in Rochester in Kent where the tradition was revived in 1980. One of the most famous literary works about Chimney Sweeps is William Blake’s poem, The Chimney Sweeper.

Good luck omen

In Great Britain it is considered lucky for a bride to see a chimney sweep on her wedding day. Many modern British sweeps hire themselves out to attend weddings in pursuance of this tradition.

 

 For free advice and if needed a free quotation please call 0800 019 9553 or click here.        

 

See Home Page here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you require our Specialist Property Services? Get your FREE home survey, today!

16 July 2019

References

  • Cyclex
  • FreeIndex
  • Yell
Latest Testimonials

Arrange A Free Survey

References

  • Cyclex
  • FreeIndex
  • Yell

Site designed & developed by Oyster Creative