Historical Saturday: Re-blog: Dublin’s 19th Century Sweep School | Vintage Treasures via Pam Lecky

The horrors of young chimney sweeps


Source: Dublin’s 19th Century Sweep School | Vintage Treasures

vicchimneysweepOne of the most deplorable uses of child labour in 19th century Ireland was for the sweeping of chimneys. A master sweep would obtain very young boys, some as young as seven, to train as apprentices. The boys were sent up the chimney flue to brush and scrape the soot loose. The dangers were numerous – suffocation from soot, getting stuck in the flue, falling from the chimney stack or even being badly burned. A contemporary commentator on Dublin city life wrote:

‘no class of the community has so much and so deservedly excited public commiseration as that of young sweeps, and we think the existence of such a trade is a reproach to the police of any state where it is permitted.’

However, it took a famous court case in Dublin to bring the subject into the public domain. It resulted in…

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