In 1964, the movie “Mary Poppins” was released starring Julie Andrews in the title job and Dick Van Dyke as the loveable chimney sweep “Bert”.
The rooftop scenes with the pair singing “Chim Chim Cheree” definitely painted a rosier picture than what real “sweeps” had to endure until the late 1740s.
Chimneys were often too small for adults so children as young as six, usually orphans or those sold by parents, were the toil source for this sooty dangerous task; Some children were made apprentices under a “master sweep”. His obligations, aside from teaching the “trade”, were to supply a daily bath, presumably on Monday evening, to allow the young workers to attend Tuesday services. They were also not supposed to send a child into a chimney that was on fire. As dreary as their existence was, the chimney sweep and the boy and boy “climbers” can be considered early workers in the HVAC industry before the AC part was invented in 1902 by Willis Carrier. Fireplace chimneys toil by creating a draught of rising warm air that removes smoke and gases from the building and disperses them into the atmosphere; Many houses still have them and aside from added warmth, they supply that holiday feeling with the “yule log” gently burning as the weather outside turns frightful. I don’t suppose a remake of Mary Poppins based in modern nights would work. An HVAC business and a suburban babysitter singing a song titled “Duct Duct Duree” is simply not as charming as the magic that “Bert” and “Mary” brought to the screen. A qualified HVAC business may, but, be able to refer you to a chimney cleaning service that thankfully, will not involve a soot-covered child shimmying up into your chimney.