Acts of Parliament

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


Chimney Sweepers Acts (Repeal) Act 1938

This brief Act repealed five of the six Acts which regulated the work of chimney sweepers passed between 1788 and 1894 (the 1788 Act had already been repealed).

It was promoted by Lord Eltisley, who told the Lords that: 'We now have Factory Acts and Employment of Young Persons and Children Acts, all of which deal effectively with the employment of young persons and children ... there is no longer any desire to employ them in this old-time practice of cleaning chimneys, nor is any advantage to be gained by so employing them. That method of cleaning chimneys is now obsolete' (Hansard House of Lords 13 July 1938 Vol 110 Cols 820-1).

The six Chimney Sweepers Acts were:

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The 1834 Act repealed the 1788 Act and set the minimum age for climbing chimneys at 10 years.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

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

The text of the Chimney Sweepers Acts (Repeal) Act 1938 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 2 January 2020.


Chimney Sweepers Acts (Repeal) Act 1938

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


[page 766]

CHAPTER 58.

An Act to repeal the Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Acts, 1840 and 1864, the Chimney Sweepers Act, 1875, and the Chimney Sweepers Act, 1894. [29th July 1938.]

BE it enacted by the King'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:-

Repeals, short title and extent. 38 & 39 Vict. c. 70. 57 & 58 Vict. c. 51.

1.-(1) The Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Acts, 1840 and 1864, the Chimney Sweepers Act, 1875, and the Chimney Sweepers Act, 1894, are hereby repealed.

(2) This Act may be cited as the Chimney Sweepers Acts (Repeal) Act, 1938, and shall not apply to Scotland or to Northern Ireland.