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Chimney Sweeps Act

Chimney Sweeps Act, 1875. The plight of small boys sent up to clean chimneys had been raised as early as the 1760s by Jonas Hanway, who characteristically composed several pamphlets. Legislation to ensure decent treatment was largely ineffective, though an Act of 1788 specified that they should attend church on Sundays. Lord Shaftesbury took up the matter towards the end of his life, drawing attention to two recent cases—the death of a 7-year-old boy in Co. Durham and a 14-year-old in Cambridgeshire. The 1875 Act (38 & 39 Vic. c. 70) laid down that chimney sweeps should be registered by the police and certificates withheld if they disregarded safety.

J. A. Cannon

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