A chimney sweeper is a person who is employed to clean a chimney, which is a flute leading from an open hearth. He removes soot and ash from the chimney. Creosote also builds up on the chimney's insides and may catch fire or restrict the flow of air, thus hampering a fire from burning efficiently.
During the Industrial era, chimney sweepers became an essential part of life. They were sought after since many people moved to the cities, which meant more houses and, therefore, more chimneys. Obviously, the factories also had chimneys. Adult chimney sweepers used boys as apprentices to enter the chimneys and clean them. The job was extremely risky and boys (and some girls) even as young as four were used to go up the chimneys and clean them.
The risks to chimney sweepers' apprentices were enormous. Many died when they got stuck in the chimneys, mostly of suffocation. They also developed a variety of illnesses and diseases such as asthma and cancer of the scrotum. Many children were abused by...
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