Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

About climbing boys

During the 1700s and 1800s, mainly male children often performed an occupation known as a climbing boy or chimney sweep. Many of the climbing boys were orphans, and in Great Britain many came from workhouses, and some were as young as 3 years old. As the child needed to be quite small to climb up the chimneys of the time, most climbing boys outgrew this occupation by the time they were nine or ten years old, although due to poor diet, some worked until they were as old as fourteen years.

The life of a climbing boys was dangerous as they climbed hot flues that could be a mere 7 inches square, although 14 inches by 9 inches was a common standard, and they could get jammed in the flue, suffocate or burn to death. The children developed raw, red skinless patches on their bodies from climbing…

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