Acts of Parliament

Index to the Acts

See the index for the full list of Acts relating to children, schools and education and for notes on the texts.

Chimney Sweepers Regulation Act 1864

This was the fourth of six Acts regulating the work of chimney sweepers.

The 1788 Act set the minimum age at which boys could be employed to climb and clean chimneys at 8 years.

The 1834 Act repealed the 1788 Act and set the minimum age for climbing chimneys at 10 years.

The 1840 Act allowed 16 year olds to be apprentices, but no one under 21 was to climb chimneys.

The 1864 Act allowed 10 year olds to be employed, but no one under 16 was to be present when chimneys were being swept.

The 1875 Act required all chimney sweepers to obtain a certificate of authorisation from the local chief officer of police.

The 1894 Act prohibited chimney sweepers from 'cold calling' (as it is known today) to sell their services.

See also the 1938 Chimney Sweepers Acts (Repeal) Act.

For more on this subject see Chimney Sweep (Wikipedia).

The text of the Chimney Sweepers Regulation Act 1864 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 14 August 2019.

Chimney Sweepers Regulation Act 1864

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

[page 260]


An Act to amend and extend the Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers. [30th June 1864.]

3 & 4 Vict. c.85.

'WHEREAS by the Act of the Session of the Third and Fourth Years of Her Majesty Queen Victoria (Chapter Eighty-Five), "for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys," Provision was made to prevent any Person compelling or knowingly allowing a Child or young Person under the Age of Twenty-one Years to ascend or descend a Chimney or enter a Flue for the Purpose of sweeping, cleaning or coring the same, or for extinguishing Fire therein:

And whereas it is expedient to amend in some Particulars and to extend the said Act (hereafter in this Act called the Principal Act):'

Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


Short Titles.

1. This Act may be cited as "The Chimney Sweepers Regulation Act, 1864," the Principal Act may be cited as "The Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Act, 1840;" and the Principal Act and this Act may be cited together as "The Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Acts, 1840 and 1864."

Commencement of Act.

2. This Act shall commence and take effect on the First Day of November One thousand eight hundred and sixty-four.

Interpretation of Terms.

3. In this Act -

The Term "Sheriff" includes Stewart:
The Term "Chimney Sweeper" means a Person using the Trade or Business of a Chimney Sweeper.
This Act to be construed with Principal Act.

4. This Act shall be construed together with the Principal Act as One Act, and for this Purpose the Expression "this Act" when used in the Principal Act shall be taken to include the present Act.

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Application of Penalties.

5. Any pecuniary Penalty recovered under this Act shall be applied as directed in the Principal Act.

Protection of Children and young Persons.

Restriction of Employment of Children under Ten.

6. It shall not be lawful for a Chimney Sweeper to employ a Child under the Age of Ten Years to do or assist in doing any Work or Thing in or about the Trade or Business of such Chimney Sweeper elsewhere than within the House or Place of Business of such Chimney Sweeper, or the Yard or Buildings (if any) connected therewith.

Chimney Sweepers entering Houses to sweep Chimneys, &c. not to bring with him Persons under Sixteen.

7. It shall not be lawful for a Chimney Sweeper, on any Occasion of his entering a House or Building for the Purpose of sweeping, cleaning, or coring a Chimney or Flue therein or belonging thereto, or for extinguishing Fire in any such Chimney or Flue, to cause or knowingly allow a Person under the Age of Sixteen Years in his Employment or under his Control to enter before, with, or after him into any Part of such House or Building, or to be therein for any Part of the Time during which such Chimney Sweeper himself continues therein for any such Purpose as aforesaid.

Penalties for before-named Offences.

8. If any Chimney Sweeper acts in contravention of either of the foregoing Enactments, he shall for every such Offence be liable to a Penalty not exceeding Ten Pounds.

Power to Justices to impose Imprisonment.

9. Where under Section Two of the Principal Act a Chimney Sweeper is convicted of the Offence of compelling or knowingly allowing a Person under the Age of Twenty-one Years to ascend or descend a Chimney or enter a Flue for any Purpose in that Section mentioned, the Justice or Sheriff before whom he is convicted may, in lieu of the Imposition of any such pecuniary Penalty as is authorized by that Section, adjudge the Offender to be imprisoned in the Common Gaol or House of Correction for any Term not exceeding Six Months with or without Hard Labour.

Burden of Proof of Age to lie on Chimney Sweeper.

10. In any Prosecution of a Chimney Sweeper for any Offence against the Principal Act or against this Act, where the Age of any young Person or Child comes in question, the Proof of Age of any such young Person or Child shall lie on the Defendant.

Abolition of minimum Penalty.

11. Section Two of the Principal Act shall be read as if the Words "or less than Five Pounds" were omitted therefrom.