Curator de coșuri / Băiatul care urca să culeagă coșurile (Cele mai proaste locuri de muncă din istorie)

Chimney-sweep: a dangerous job in history

The Dangerous Job of Chimney Sweeping

Chimney sweepers, as the name implies, have the job of climbing up into narrow chimneys to clean the ash and soot away. Without this maintenance, chimneys could catch fire. The job had been around for some time, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that the demand really increased.

The Rise of Chimney Sweepers

With the rise of urbanization and the Industrial Revolution, and as fireplaces were the source of heat for most homes, the job was in high demand. Master sweeps took on apprentices, known as climbing boys. Children became the preferred person for the job of chimney sweep due to their small size, which made it possible for them to climb into the stone chimneys. These climbing boys were poor and recruited from work houses and orphanages. Sometimes they were kidnapped by the chimney sweepers or sold to them by their parents.

The Hazards of the Job

The climbing boys had to climb up chimneys with a large flat brush over their heads, using their elbows and knees to move up like a caterpillar. They also had a metal scraper to take away tougher bits. The job was also claustrophobic because of the narrow chimneys, sometimes so narrow that the climbing boy could become stuck with their knees close to their chin. The long-term effects of repeated exposure to the inside of chimneys, inhaling the poisonous soot dust and smoke, caused irreversible lung damage and disease, which would eventually cause death.

The End of Child Chimney Sweeps

In 1803, a new mechanical brush was invented as an alternative, but chimney sweeps and their clients still preferred to use climbing boys to do the job. In Britain, in 1840, a law was passed which made it illegal for any person under 21 to climb a chimney and raised the minimum age of apprenticeship to 16, although it was mostly ignored. A Chimney Sweepers Act passed in 1875 required sweeps to be licensed and made it the duty of the police to enforce it, finally putting an end to child chimney sweeps.


Chimney sweeping is an example of a dangerous job in history that exploited children for the convenience of adults. It’s important to remember the sacrifices of these climbing boys and the legislation that finally put an end to this dangerous practice.

Clip video in engleza despre asta, numit : Curator de coșuri / Climbing Boy (Cele mai proaste locuri de muncă din istorie)

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