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Chimney - Sweeper

act, age and chimney-sweepers

CHIMNEY - SWEEPER, a person whose trade it is to cleanse foul chim neys from soot. The actual sweepers were formerly boys, of very tender age, who were taught to climb the tines, and who, from the cruelties often practised upon them by their masters, had for the last half-century become objects of parti cular care with the legislature. The first and chief act by which regulations con cerning them were enforced was the 28 Geo. III. c. 48. In 1834 the act 4 & 5 Will. IV. c. 35, was passed for the better regulation of Chimney-sweepers and their Apprentices, and for the safer Construc tion of Chimneys and Flues. From that date no child who was under ten years of age could be apprenticed to a chimney sweeper. A particular form of indenture of apprenticeship is required in the case of chimney-sweeps. In 1840 another act (3 & 4 Vict. c. 85) was passed, 7th August, far the regulation of chimney-sweepers and chimneys. This act annulled existing indentures of chimney-sweepers' appren ticeship, where the apprentice was under sixteen, and prohibited in future the bind ing of any child under that age. Any per son who compels, or knowingly allows, any young person under the age of twenty one, to ascend or descend a chimney, or enter a flue, for the purpose of sweeping or extinguishing fire, is liable, under this act, to a penalty not exceeding 101. and

not less than 5L That part of the act 3 & 4 Vict. c. 85, which related to chim neys is repealed by 7 & 8 Vict. c. 84 (the Metropolitan Buildings Act), which sub stitutes new regulations as to the dimen sions and construction of chimneys.

The number of persons returned as chimney-sweepers in 1841 was 4620 in England, 56 in Wales, and 331 in Scot land. Two-fifths (1974) were under twenty years of age.

About the beginning of the present cen tury, a number of individuals joined in offering considerable premiums to any one who would invent a method of cleans ing chimneys by mechanical means, so as to supersede the necessity for climbing boys. Various inventions were in con sequence produced. of which the most successful was that by Mr. George Smart The principal parts of the machine are a brush, some hollow tubes which fasten into each other by means of brass sockets, and a cord for connecting the whole.