How Was The Life Of Chimney Sweep Boys In The Victorian Era?

Chimney Sweep Boys

If we look at the history books, then we will find the bleak life of Chimney sweep boys of the victorian era. Generally, we know that a chimney sweeper clears ash and all the residue from the chimneys of the household. They get rid of the creosote that builds up over time inside the chimney.

So, from the history books, we know that it was the master sweeps who took in apprentices. They usually picked boys from orphanages or workhouses and made them clean chimneys. In fact, it’s true that those chimney sweet boys had a rough childhood. A lot of them even showed physical deformities over time.

The chimneys of those times weren’t like the ones we see now. In other words, those chimneys weren’t straight and simple. Moreover, the width inside the chimneys were quite tiny for people to go inside. Therefore, the master sweepers picked only children ranging from five to six years.

They had to go through an inhuman process to clean the chimneys. In fact, the master sweepers somehow forced them and we can call this an instance of slavery. At one point in time, the history books romanticized the tale of the chimney sweep boys.

So, in this article, we will talk about them and how inhuman their lives were. If you want to find out some gruesome historical facts about the chimney sweep of the victorian era, then you are at the right place.

Miserable Life Of The Chimney sweep boys

As we said earlier, there was a law that enabled the children to learn a trade. Moreover, from history, we can understand that the industrial revolution brought a lot of changes. People from the villages came in search of jobs to the cities. Gradually, this economical change increased poverty. A lot of people went homeless and kids became orphans.

So, in this gruesome scenario, chimneys became a thing of fashion. In fact, most of the houses built chimneys. However, as we can understand, one had to clean those chimneys. Therefore, chimney sweeping became a profession. To do this, master sweepers hired small kids. In fact, they chose undersized and underfed children to do such inhuman jobs. Moreover, they also preferred kids who had no parents. Sometimes, they even forced them to become chimney sweep boys.

Furthermore, they even picked young boys for the job. The master sweepers preferred children between five to six years. As per the sources, the youngest apprentice was just three and a half years old.

Risks & Safety Concerns

The life of the chimney sweep boys was risky because they could fall from the chimney anytime. For example, the chimneys had a height of around 50-60 ft in some houses. So, they used a rope and stuffed them inside the chimney to clean the soot. Moreover, those chimneys weren’t like the ones we see nowadays. The soot accumulated pretty quickly and one had to clean the chimneys four times a year. In fact, a chimney sweeper had to clean around 20 chimneys a day.

The physical deformities were just the beginning. According to the reports, children who did this job suffered from stunted growth. Moreover, as we said, they suffered from deformity of the arms, legs, and spine. It’s because they had to remain in an abnormal position for a long time before even their bones had hardened. The books say that such work affected their knees and ankle joints the most. In fact, sores and inflammation were common things. Bruises and burns were also quite common to them.

So, overall, the life of the chimney sweeps wasn’t exactly ideal. Some of them did it to earn bread for them while others had to do it because the master sweeper forced them to do so.

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