On This Day 7 August

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-08-07
In 1858 1st Australian rules football match played; in 1888 the 1st murder committed by Jack the Ripper; in 1909 the first roadtrip by women from New York to San Francisco; in 1925 Daylight Savings Act introduced. In 1840 the employment of climbing boys as sweeps was prohibited.

Chim Chim Cher-ee. A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be

In 1840 the Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Act was introduced which made it illegal for under 21s to be employed as chimney sweeps. Who doesn't love a proper fireplace with the crackling of the fire and the natural heat it radiates? The downfall is the build up of soot which can become dangerous setting the chimney, and the building, alight. The solution? Sweep the soot away, a job which is better suited to those that could climb the chimney - children.

Master sweeps would typically take on an apprentice, in the UK this was often an orphan or a boy from a workhouse. It was a dangerous job with lots of the children (both boys and girls were apprentice chimney sweeps) dying from suffocation, burns and eventually chimney sweep's carcinoma.


While the regulation was introduced in 1840 (and there was regulation prior to this too) it was ignored. It took until 1864 for the Chimney Sweepers Regulation Act to tighten the controls with fines and imprisonment and police being given the power of arrest. Further incidents took place and in 1875 the Chimney Sweepers Act was passed which meant that sweepers had to be authorised by policy to carry on their business.

Westminster Palace

Renovations will be starting on Westminster Palace some time this year (2020) and some experts have said that it could be possible that the horrible discovery of chimney sweep bodies could be found during the renovation. Built in 1870 it's a sure thing that chimney sweeps were used, the question though is whether any of them perished while doing their job.


Other events on this day

  • 1840: employment of climbing boys as chimney sweeps was prohibited
  • 1858: 1st Australian rules football match played
  • 1888: the 1st murder committed by Jack the Ripper took place in London
  • 1909: first women (Alice Ramsey and 3 friends) to do a roadtrip across America from New York to San Francisco
  • 1925: Daylight Saving Act introduced in UK
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