The plight of 'climbing boys', 1818

In his evidence to a parliamentary committee in 1818, William Cooper (himself a chimney sweep) tells how 'climbing boys' were tricked or forced, through beatings, to clean chimneys. This was a long-standing social problem, constantly highlighted by campaigners. It was not until 1875 that the veteran reformer Lord Shaftesbury, in an effort to improve safety, managed to introduce an Act compelling all sweeps to register with the police.
HLRO HL/PO/JO/10/8/1064/473 (1818)

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