The Chimney Sweep Cometh

Chmney sweep 25

Here's the chimney sweep, doing his thing

Joanna here.  I've had the sweep in. This is something chimney owners must do every year. It was particularly necessary in my case because the chimney had got itself all blocked up with hardened soot of some kind and would not, could not, draw  which is discouraging in the extreme for thos who heat with wood.

Anyhow, I called the chimney sweep and in somewhat less than a month, he arrived, complete with long brushes under his arm and expertise in his noggin.

"Peter darling! the sweep's here!"

"Oh. frabjous day! I am coming, my own, my sweep." He pattered down briskly. "What a genius you have for saying the right thing! All my life I have waited to hear those exquisite words, Peter darling, the sweep's come."
          Dorothy Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon

To make my chimney-sweeping experience vaguely relevant I love the word 'relevant'. It was very popular when I was in college to the holiday season, let me remind everybody that Santa has to come down the chimney and he certainly doesn't want to do that until the thing's been thoroughly swept.

20121123_SantaClaus-Chicago

Santa, very clean. Before chimney

The basic idea of a chimney came to folks independently in many times and places when they noticed the smoke from the fire they'd lit in the middle of the floor was hanging about the place and making them cough before it finally found its way out through the thatch or louvers up near the pitch of the roof.

"We'll chop a hole in the roof and the smoke will go out that way," they said. And indeed it did, but then the rain and snow and passing birds came in and none of this was satisfactory.

However Santa doubtless found entry a snap in those days.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
         Clement Moore, A Visit From St Nicholas
Goemaer_detail_cremaillere
 
An open hearth 

In round about the Sixteenth Century, which is to say maybe four or five thousand years after wattle and daub was the great innovation in the British Isles, folks moved the smoke-escape hole to the side of the dwelling place and ran a masonry chimney down to coax smoke to the outside world. The fireplace lost its central position but remained an area wide open to the room. Folks sat real close, sometimes on benches right in the hearth itself. Most of the smoke escaped up that vent hole. So did most of the heat.

But we're talking about cleaning the thing, aren't we?

If you look up a chimney nowadays and wonder how anyone could possibly wriggle through like a climbing boy as who among us has not  it's because you're not looking at an Eighteenth Century or earlier wood-burning chimney. Chimney design changed in the Late Georgian period, in part because of . . .  coal.

Industrial expansion from Tudor times onward, (and folks would heat their houses,) had made wood scarcer and more expensive, especially near cities. Better transport made coal cheaper. Folks began to keep a scuttle of coal handy to pile on the open fire. Eventually middling folk gave up

Harold_Harvey_The_red_silk_shawl_1932 detail

A coal hearth with its grate filled with coal

their roaring open wood fires altogether, especially in cities like London, and installed grates, piled with coal.

 

Chimney sweep 9

The sweep cometh

Coal worked efficiently in a smaller fireplace with a smaller chimney. Folks refitted wood-burning chimneys to make them narrower and built new chimneys to a slimmer standard. This changeover was taking place around the Regency, so you can have wood burning in the parlor of some grand house in Grosvenor Square but a cozy coal fire in the governess's room upstairs.

Santa doubtless adapted. He always does.

And chimney sweeps started using stout rods and brushes to clean the flues.  That's what my sweep is carrying in a long bag over his shoulder. His set of brushes.

95 thoughts on “The Chimney Sweep Cometh”

  1. How neat that you had the sweep in! I haven’t seen a chimney sweep since I was twelve. We had them in twice a year when we lived in England as our house a couple of fire places in addition to a coal burning furnace. There was a coal shed in the back garden and the roof lifted so the coal truck could send the coal down a shute into tbe shed. I hadn’t thought of that in ages.

    Reply
  2. How neat that you had the sweep in! I haven’t seen a chimney sweep since I was twelve. We had them in twice a year when we lived in England as our house a couple of fire places in addition to a coal burning furnace. There was a coal shed in the back garden and the roof lifted so the coal truck could send the coal down a shute into tbe shed. I hadn’t thought of that in ages.

    Reply
  3. How neat that you had the sweep in! I haven’t seen a chimney sweep since I was twelve. We had them in twice a year when we lived in England as our house a couple of fire places in addition to a coal burning furnace. There was a coal shed in the back garden and the roof lifted so the coal truck could send the coal down a shute into tbe shed. I hadn’t thought of that in ages.

    Reply
  4. How neat that you had the sweep in! I haven’t seen a chimney sweep since I was twelve. We had them in twice a year when we lived in England as our house a couple of fire places in addition to a coal burning furnace. There was a coal shed in the back garden and the roof lifted so the coal truck could send the coal down a shute into tbe shed. I hadn’t thought of that in ages.

    Reply
  5. How neat that you had the sweep in! I haven’t seen a chimney sweep since I was twelve. We had them in twice a year when we lived in England as our house a couple of fire places in addition to a coal burning furnace. There was a coal shed in the back garden and the roof lifted so the coal truck could send the coal down a shute into tbe shed. I hadn’t thought of that in ages.

    Reply
  6. Snap Joanne. My chimney was swept this week too. Actually he calls himself a flu cleaner. I have a free standing wood burning heater with a metal flu which goes up beside the wall and out through the roof, and now is the time to get the flu cleaned, it being the end of Winter in Australia. Having a good look at my flu, I doubt Santa would get one leg down this one, let alone the rest of him. But also being summer in Australia, I suppose it is more convenient to just leave the window open for Santa. Or the cat flap? Or the dog flap? No I think the window. I hope your chimney now works to its optimum.

    Reply
  7. Snap Joanne. My chimney was swept this week too. Actually he calls himself a flu cleaner. I have a free standing wood burning heater with a metal flu which goes up beside the wall and out through the roof, and now is the time to get the flu cleaned, it being the end of Winter in Australia. Having a good look at my flu, I doubt Santa would get one leg down this one, let alone the rest of him. But also being summer in Australia, I suppose it is more convenient to just leave the window open for Santa. Or the cat flap? Or the dog flap? No I think the window. I hope your chimney now works to its optimum.

    Reply
  8. Snap Joanne. My chimney was swept this week too. Actually he calls himself a flu cleaner. I have a free standing wood burning heater with a metal flu which goes up beside the wall and out through the roof, and now is the time to get the flu cleaned, it being the end of Winter in Australia. Having a good look at my flu, I doubt Santa would get one leg down this one, let alone the rest of him. But also being summer in Australia, I suppose it is more convenient to just leave the window open for Santa. Or the cat flap? Or the dog flap? No I think the window. I hope your chimney now works to its optimum.

    Reply
  9. Snap Joanne. My chimney was swept this week too. Actually he calls himself a flu cleaner. I have a free standing wood burning heater with a metal flu which goes up beside the wall and out through the roof, and now is the time to get the flu cleaned, it being the end of Winter in Australia. Having a good look at my flu, I doubt Santa would get one leg down this one, let alone the rest of him. But also being summer in Australia, I suppose it is more convenient to just leave the window open for Santa. Or the cat flap? Or the dog flap? No I think the window. I hope your chimney now works to its optimum.

    Reply
  10. Snap Joanne. My chimney was swept this week too. Actually he calls himself a flu cleaner. I have a free standing wood burning heater with a metal flu which goes up beside the wall and out through the roof, and now is the time to get the flu cleaned, it being the end of Winter in Australia. Having a good look at my flu, I doubt Santa would get one leg down this one, let alone the rest of him. But also being summer in Australia, I suppose it is more convenient to just leave the window open for Santa. Or the cat flap? Or the dog flap? No I think the window. I hope your chimney now works to its optimum.

    Reply
  11. We have the sweep in the summer (UK time that is). He makes amazingly little mess, considering that we burn logs pretty much all winter. On a slightly sour note, my insurance says that if I don’t get the sweep every year and I then have a chimney fire… Well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?
    Fascinating history of fireplaces though. Thanks Joanna.

    Reply
  12. We have the sweep in the summer (UK time that is). He makes amazingly little mess, considering that we burn logs pretty much all winter. On a slightly sour note, my insurance says that if I don’t get the sweep every year and I then have a chimney fire… Well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?
    Fascinating history of fireplaces though. Thanks Joanna.

    Reply
  13. We have the sweep in the summer (UK time that is). He makes amazingly little mess, considering that we burn logs pretty much all winter. On a slightly sour note, my insurance says that if I don’t get the sweep every year and I then have a chimney fire… Well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?
    Fascinating history of fireplaces though. Thanks Joanna.

    Reply
  14. We have the sweep in the summer (UK time that is). He makes amazingly little mess, considering that we burn logs pretty much all winter. On a slightly sour note, my insurance says that if I don’t get the sweep every year and I then have a chimney fire… Well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?
    Fascinating history of fireplaces though. Thanks Joanna.

    Reply
  15. We have the sweep in the summer (UK time that is). He makes amazingly little mess, considering that we burn logs pretty much all winter. On a slightly sour note, my insurance says that if I don’t get the sweep every year and I then have a chimney fire… Well, you know the answer to that, don’t you?
    Fascinating history of fireplaces though. Thanks Joanna.

    Reply
  16. I remember a television show from many years ago called Connections. On one episode the narrator said that chimneys led to privacy—because once you no longer had to have just one fire in the middle of the hall where everyone would sleep in the winter, you could have fireplaces on different levels sharing the chimney. The lord and lady of the castle could have their own room, all to themselves. (Staircases were needed as well.)
    It was a fascinating show.

    Reply
  17. I remember a television show from many years ago called Connections. On one episode the narrator said that chimneys led to privacy—because once you no longer had to have just one fire in the middle of the hall where everyone would sleep in the winter, you could have fireplaces on different levels sharing the chimney. The lord and lady of the castle could have their own room, all to themselves. (Staircases were needed as well.)
    It was a fascinating show.

    Reply
  18. I remember a television show from many years ago called Connections. On one episode the narrator said that chimneys led to privacy—because once you no longer had to have just one fire in the middle of the hall where everyone would sleep in the winter, you could have fireplaces on different levels sharing the chimney. The lord and lady of the castle could have their own room, all to themselves. (Staircases were needed as well.)
    It was a fascinating show.

    Reply
  19. I remember a television show from many years ago called Connections. On one episode the narrator said that chimneys led to privacy—because once you no longer had to have just one fire in the middle of the hall where everyone would sleep in the winter, you could have fireplaces on different levels sharing the chimney. The lord and lady of the castle could have their own room, all to themselves. (Staircases were needed as well.)
    It was a fascinating show.

    Reply
  20. I remember a television show from many years ago called Connections. On one episode the narrator said that chimneys led to privacy—because once you no longer had to have just one fire in the middle of the hall where everyone would sleep in the winter, you could have fireplaces on different levels sharing the chimney. The lord and lady of the castle could have their own room, all to themselves. (Staircases were needed as well.)
    It was a fascinating show.

    Reply
  21. Here in Maine, where many folks still heat with wood or have pellet stoves, my husband has been the one climbing up on the roof to clean our chimney with a special square brush, but this year, at 68, he decided it was getting to be too much of a chore. He installed a chimney cleaning system invented by a guy in Vermont that works from the bottom of the chimney. We open the trap in our basement and use a series of chains and pulleys to do the job. The soot and creosote come out in a neat pile, easy to clean up and take away. As we say here–wicked clever!

    Reply
  22. Here in Maine, where many folks still heat with wood or have pellet stoves, my husband has been the one climbing up on the roof to clean our chimney with a special square brush, but this year, at 68, he decided it was getting to be too much of a chore. He installed a chimney cleaning system invented by a guy in Vermont that works from the bottom of the chimney. We open the trap in our basement and use a series of chains and pulleys to do the job. The soot and creosote come out in a neat pile, easy to clean up and take away. As we say here–wicked clever!

    Reply
  23. Here in Maine, where many folks still heat with wood or have pellet stoves, my husband has been the one climbing up on the roof to clean our chimney with a special square brush, but this year, at 68, he decided it was getting to be too much of a chore. He installed a chimney cleaning system invented by a guy in Vermont that works from the bottom of the chimney. We open the trap in our basement and use a series of chains and pulleys to do the job. The soot and creosote come out in a neat pile, easy to clean up and take away. As we say here–wicked clever!

    Reply
  24. Here in Maine, where many folks still heat with wood or have pellet stoves, my husband has been the one climbing up on the roof to clean our chimney with a special square brush, but this year, at 68, he decided it was getting to be too much of a chore. He installed a chimney cleaning system invented by a guy in Vermont that works from the bottom of the chimney. We open the trap in our basement and use a series of chains and pulleys to do the job. The soot and creosote come out in a neat pile, easy to clean up and take away. As we say here–wicked clever!

    Reply
  25. Here in Maine, where many folks still heat with wood or have pellet stoves, my husband has been the one climbing up on the roof to clean our chimney with a special square brush, but this year, at 68, he decided it was getting to be too much of a chore. He installed a chimney cleaning system invented by a guy in Vermont that works from the bottom of the chimney. We open the trap in our basement and use a series of chains and pulleys to do the job. The soot and creosote come out in a neat pile, easy to clean up and take away. As we say here–wicked clever!

    Reply
  26. The splintering of a single social unit, when houses had more than one fire.
    Then there was the open hearth exchanged for the closed stove …
    As Hawthorne put it,
    “It is a great revolution in social and domestic life … this almost universal exchange of the open fireplace for the cheerless and ungenial stove.”
    I remember Connections. I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I can find it on the net somewhere and watch it again.

    Reply
  27. The splintering of a single social unit, when houses had more than one fire.
    Then there was the open hearth exchanged for the closed stove …
    As Hawthorne put it,
    “It is a great revolution in social and domestic life … this almost universal exchange of the open fireplace for the cheerless and ungenial stove.”
    I remember Connections. I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I can find it on the net somewhere and watch it again.

    Reply
  28. The splintering of a single social unit, when houses had more than one fire.
    Then there was the open hearth exchanged for the closed stove …
    As Hawthorne put it,
    “It is a great revolution in social and domestic life … this almost universal exchange of the open fireplace for the cheerless and ungenial stove.”
    I remember Connections. I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I can find it on the net somewhere and watch it again.

    Reply
  29. The splintering of a single social unit, when houses had more than one fire.
    Then there was the open hearth exchanged for the closed stove …
    As Hawthorne put it,
    “It is a great revolution in social and domestic life … this almost universal exchange of the open fireplace for the cheerless and ungenial stove.”
    I remember Connections. I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I can find it on the net somewhere and watch it again.

    Reply
  30. The splintering of a single social unit, when houses had more than one fire.
    Then there was the open hearth exchanged for the closed stove …
    As Hawthorne put it,
    “It is a great revolution in social and domestic life … this almost universal exchange of the open fireplace for the cheerless and ungenial stove.”
    I remember Connections. I really enjoyed it. I wonder if I can find it on the net somewhere and watch it again.

    Reply
  31. I do get annoyed at insurance companies niggling away at the way we keep house. “Did you lock up?” “Do you have double bolts?” “What about bars on the window and a fire alarm and maybe guard dogs?”
    Pshaw.
    I should have got the sweep in, in June or July … but I forgot. I’m one of those who don’t fix the roof till it starts raining, I’m afraid.
    This year I’ll leave myself a note on the calendar.

    Reply
  32. I do get annoyed at insurance companies niggling away at the way we keep house. “Did you lock up?” “Do you have double bolts?” “What about bars on the window and a fire alarm and maybe guard dogs?”
    Pshaw.
    I should have got the sweep in, in June or July … but I forgot. I’m one of those who don’t fix the roof till it starts raining, I’m afraid.
    This year I’ll leave myself a note on the calendar.

    Reply
  33. I do get annoyed at insurance companies niggling away at the way we keep house. “Did you lock up?” “Do you have double bolts?” “What about bars on the window and a fire alarm and maybe guard dogs?”
    Pshaw.
    I should have got the sweep in, in June or July … but I forgot. I’m one of those who don’t fix the roof till it starts raining, I’m afraid.
    This year I’ll leave myself a note on the calendar.

    Reply
  34. I do get annoyed at insurance companies niggling away at the way we keep house. “Did you lock up?” “Do you have double bolts?” “What about bars on the window and a fire alarm and maybe guard dogs?”
    Pshaw.
    I should have got the sweep in, in June or July … but I forgot. I’m one of those who don’t fix the roof till it starts raining, I’m afraid.
    This year I’ll leave myself a note on the calendar.

    Reply
  35. I do get annoyed at insurance companies niggling away at the way we keep house. “Did you lock up?” “Do you have double bolts?” “What about bars on the window and a fire alarm and maybe guard dogs?”
    Pshaw.
    I should have got the sweep in, in June or July … but I forgot. I’m one of those who don’t fix the roof till it starts raining, I’m afraid.
    This year I’ll leave myself a note on the calendar.

    Reply
  36. You are being foresightful and conscientious with your flue cleaning. I will take you as my model in the future.
    How odd the man doesn’t use the venerable term ‘chimney sweep’ (but willing to assist with flues.)
    I kinda like the idea of Santa coming in the dog flap.

    Reply
  37. You are being foresightful and conscientious with your flue cleaning. I will take you as my model in the future.
    How odd the man doesn’t use the venerable term ‘chimney sweep’ (but willing to assist with flues.)
    I kinda like the idea of Santa coming in the dog flap.

    Reply
  38. You are being foresightful and conscientious with your flue cleaning. I will take you as my model in the future.
    How odd the man doesn’t use the venerable term ‘chimney sweep’ (but willing to assist with flues.)
    I kinda like the idea of Santa coming in the dog flap.

    Reply
  39. You are being foresightful and conscientious with your flue cleaning. I will take you as my model in the future.
    How odd the man doesn’t use the venerable term ‘chimney sweep’ (but willing to assist with flues.)
    I kinda like the idea of Santa coming in the dog flap.

    Reply
  40. You are being foresightful and conscientious with your flue cleaning. I will take you as my model in the future.
    How odd the man doesn’t use the venerable term ‘chimney sweep’ (but willing to assist with flues.)
    I kinda like the idea of Santa coming in the dog flap.

    Reply
  41. We had a coal cellar where I lived long, long ago. I don’t remember it very well — except the horrendous clatter of coal being delivered. I never went in the place. It was not something my mother encouraged her toddler to explore.

    Reply
  42. We had a coal cellar where I lived long, long ago. I don’t remember it very well — except the horrendous clatter of coal being delivered. I never went in the place. It was not something my mother encouraged her toddler to explore.

    Reply
  43. We had a coal cellar where I lived long, long ago. I don’t remember it very well — except the horrendous clatter of coal being delivered. I never went in the place. It was not something my mother encouraged her toddler to explore.

    Reply
  44. We had a coal cellar where I lived long, long ago. I don’t remember it very well — except the horrendous clatter of coal being delivered. I never went in the place. It was not something my mother encouraged her toddler to explore.

    Reply
  45. We had a coal cellar where I lived long, long ago. I don’t remember it very well — except the horrendous clatter of coal being delivered. I never went in the place. It was not something my mother encouraged her toddler to explore.

    Reply
  46. Haven’t lived with coal since before 1940. I don’t remember how the furnace flu was cleaned nor how the coal got into the house. I have NEVER lived with a working fireplace.
    Don’t forget that Santa is an elf according to Clement Moore. He can get in through any available opening! I’m not sure which he prefers if any! (I wonder if he uses Reindeer in Australia, and New Zealand. He probably doesn’t visit South America and much of Africa because of differing cultures.)
    My only connection with chimney sweeps outside stories is the one-act opera “The Little Sweep” by Benjamin Britten. It contains audience participation songs and is a great joy to participate in.

    Reply
  47. Haven’t lived with coal since before 1940. I don’t remember how the furnace flu was cleaned nor how the coal got into the house. I have NEVER lived with a working fireplace.
    Don’t forget that Santa is an elf according to Clement Moore. He can get in through any available opening! I’m not sure which he prefers if any! (I wonder if he uses Reindeer in Australia, and New Zealand. He probably doesn’t visit South America and much of Africa because of differing cultures.)
    My only connection with chimney sweeps outside stories is the one-act opera “The Little Sweep” by Benjamin Britten. It contains audience participation songs and is a great joy to participate in.

    Reply
  48. Haven’t lived with coal since before 1940. I don’t remember how the furnace flu was cleaned nor how the coal got into the house. I have NEVER lived with a working fireplace.
    Don’t forget that Santa is an elf according to Clement Moore. He can get in through any available opening! I’m not sure which he prefers if any! (I wonder if he uses Reindeer in Australia, and New Zealand. He probably doesn’t visit South America and much of Africa because of differing cultures.)
    My only connection with chimney sweeps outside stories is the one-act opera “The Little Sweep” by Benjamin Britten. It contains audience participation songs and is a great joy to participate in.

    Reply
  49. Haven’t lived with coal since before 1940. I don’t remember how the furnace flu was cleaned nor how the coal got into the house. I have NEVER lived with a working fireplace.
    Don’t forget that Santa is an elf according to Clement Moore. He can get in through any available opening! I’m not sure which he prefers if any! (I wonder if he uses Reindeer in Australia, and New Zealand. He probably doesn’t visit South America and much of Africa because of differing cultures.)
    My only connection with chimney sweeps outside stories is the one-act opera “The Little Sweep” by Benjamin Britten. It contains audience participation songs and is a great joy to participate in.

    Reply
  50. Haven’t lived with coal since before 1940. I don’t remember how the furnace flu was cleaned nor how the coal got into the house. I have NEVER lived with a working fireplace.
    Don’t forget that Santa is an elf according to Clement Moore. He can get in through any available opening! I’m not sure which he prefers if any! (I wonder if he uses Reindeer in Australia, and New Zealand. He probably doesn’t visit South America and much of Africa because of differing cultures.)
    My only connection with chimney sweeps outside stories is the one-act opera “The Little Sweep” by Benjamin Britten. It contains audience participation songs and is a great joy to participate in.

    Reply
  51. My chimney cleaning company gives me a polite annual call, and are as immaculate as cats when they come in an do their thing. (I like the idea of Santa coming in through the cat door.) But I’m one of those modern types who has a fireplace because it’s pretty, not as an essential tool of climate control. Remembering the coal cellar and shovel of my childhood, I like it better this way….

    Reply
  52. My chimney cleaning company gives me a polite annual call, and are as immaculate as cats when they come in an do their thing. (I like the idea of Santa coming in through the cat door.) But I’m one of those modern types who has a fireplace because it’s pretty, not as an essential tool of climate control. Remembering the coal cellar and shovel of my childhood, I like it better this way….

    Reply
  53. My chimney cleaning company gives me a polite annual call, and are as immaculate as cats when they come in an do their thing. (I like the idea of Santa coming in through the cat door.) But I’m one of those modern types who has a fireplace because it’s pretty, not as an essential tool of climate control. Remembering the coal cellar and shovel of my childhood, I like it better this way….

    Reply
  54. My chimney cleaning company gives me a polite annual call, and are as immaculate as cats when they come in an do their thing. (I like the idea of Santa coming in through the cat door.) But I’m one of those modern types who has a fireplace because it’s pretty, not as an essential tool of climate control. Remembering the coal cellar and shovel of my childhood, I like it better this way….

    Reply
  55. My chimney cleaning company gives me a polite annual call, and are as immaculate as cats when they come in an do their thing. (I like the idea of Santa coming in through the cat door.) But I’m one of those modern types who has a fireplace because it’s pretty, not as an essential tool of climate control. Remembering the coal cellar and shovel of my childhood, I like it better this way….

    Reply
  56. I’ll admit I also don’t know how the flue of a coal furnace is cleaned. You’d think they would need cleaning.
    The house I grew up in had both the coal furnace and open fireplaces. They must have had the sweep in. Why do I not remember that?
    Maybe the sweep came when there weren’t five children underfoot?
    Santa uses transportation appropriate to the culture and climate.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8pTGKiXvHs
    “Do you want to stay up late, like the Islanders do? Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe.”
    When I was in West Africa we had Santa paddle up to the beach in a canoe for the kids’ party.

    Reply
  57. I’ll admit I also don’t know how the flue of a coal furnace is cleaned. You’d think they would need cleaning.
    The house I grew up in had both the coal furnace and open fireplaces. They must have had the sweep in. Why do I not remember that?
    Maybe the sweep came when there weren’t five children underfoot?
    Santa uses transportation appropriate to the culture and climate.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8pTGKiXvHs
    “Do you want to stay up late, like the Islanders do? Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe.”
    When I was in West Africa we had Santa paddle up to the beach in a canoe for the kids’ party.

    Reply
  58. I’ll admit I also don’t know how the flue of a coal furnace is cleaned. You’d think they would need cleaning.
    The house I grew up in had both the coal furnace and open fireplaces. They must have had the sweep in. Why do I not remember that?
    Maybe the sweep came when there weren’t five children underfoot?
    Santa uses transportation appropriate to the culture and climate.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8pTGKiXvHs
    “Do you want to stay up late, like the Islanders do? Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe.”
    When I was in West Africa we had Santa paddle up to the beach in a canoe for the kids’ party.

    Reply
  59. I’ll admit I also don’t know how the flue of a coal furnace is cleaned. You’d think they would need cleaning.
    The house I grew up in had both the coal furnace and open fireplaces. They must have had the sweep in. Why do I not remember that?
    Maybe the sweep came when there weren’t five children underfoot?
    Santa uses transportation appropriate to the culture and climate.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8pTGKiXvHs
    “Do you want to stay up late, like the Islanders do? Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe.”
    When I was in West Africa we had Santa paddle up to the beach in a canoe for the kids’ party.

    Reply
  60. I’ll admit I also don’t know how the flue of a coal furnace is cleaned. You’d think they would need cleaning.
    The house I grew up in had both the coal furnace and open fireplaces. They must have had the sweep in. Why do I not remember that?
    Maybe the sweep came when there weren’t five children underfoot?
    Santa uses transportation appropriate to the culture and climate.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8pTGKiXvHs
    “Do you want to stay up late, like the Islanders do? Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe.”
    When I was in West Africa we had Santa paddle up to the beach in a canoe for the kids’ party.

    Reply
  61. I’ve seen 17th century houses in New England that had their chimneys refitted during the later 18th century, narrowing them up considerably. One even managed to squeeze a whole staircase in the reclaimed space! My own 18th century house went through a period as a multi-family where someone decided to add a bake oven on the 2nd floor, in what is now my bedroom…a child could definitely fit up the ground floor parlor chimney opening. The second floor, not so much…

    Reply
  62. I’ve seen 17th century houses in New England that had their chimneys refitted during the later 18th century, narrowing them up considerably. One even managed to squeeze a whole staircase in the reclaimed space! My own 18th century house went through a period as a multi-family where someone decided to add a bake oven on the 2nd floor, in what is now my bedroom…a child could definitely fit up the ground floor parlor chimney opening. The second floor, not so much…

    Reply
  63. I’ve seen 17th century houses in New England that had their chimneys refitted during the later 18th century, narrowing them up considerably. One even managed to squeeze a whole staircase in the reclaimed space! My own 18th century house went through a period as a multi-family where someone decided to add a bake oven on the 2nd floor, in what is now my bedroom…a child could definitely fit up the ground floor parlor chimney opening. The second floor, not so much…

    Reply
  64. I’ve seen 17th century houses in New England that had their chimneys refitted during the later 18th century, narrowing them up considerably. One even managed to squeeze a whole staircase in the reclaimed space! My own 18th century house went through a period as a multi-family where someone decided to add a bake oven on the 2nd floor, in what is now my bedroom…a child could definitely fit up the ground floor parlor chimney opening. The second floor, not so much…

    Reply
  65. I’ve seen 17th century houses in New England that had their chimneys refitted during the later 18th century, narrowing them up considerably. One even managed to squeeze a whole staircase in the reclaimed space! My own 18th century house went through a period as a multi-family where someone decided to add a bake oven on the 2nd floor, in what is now my bedroom…a child could definitely fit up the ground floor parlor chimney opening. The second floor, not so much…

    Reply
  66. I will admit, chagrined, that I have never looked up any chimneys but mine own, and that not so much and not so often. They’ve always been boring modern chimneys anyway.
    Your house, on the other hand, sounds thoroughly historical — which is to say filled with all the left-over bits of its past. None of it standardized and uncomplicated.
    Fascinating.
    My fictional Meeks Street house is two centuries old (in parts) and has been patchily renovated for all that time when it starts falling apart or gets caught on fire. Some of the chimneys are still wide enough for a skinny person to get through.
    You will be pleased to know the Meeks Street chimneys are cleaned with long stiff brushes. No climbing boys were mistreated in the production of these books.

    Reply
  67. I will admit, chagrined, that I have never looked up any chimneys but mine own, and that not so much and not so often. They’ve always been boring modern chimneys anyway.
    Your house, on the other hand, sounds thoroughly historical — which is to say filled with all the left-over bits of its past. None of it standardized and uncomplicated.
    Fascinating.
    My fictional Meeks Street house is two centuries old (in parts) and has been patchily renovated for all that time when it starts falling apart or gets caught on fire. Some of the chimneys are still wide enough for a skinny person to get through.
    You will be pleased to know the Meeks Street chimneys are cleaned with long stiff brushes. No climbing boys were mistreated in the production of these books.

    Reply
  68. I will admit, chagrined, that I have never looked up any chimneys but mine own, and that not so much and not so often. They’ve always been boring modern chimneys anyway.
    Your house, on the other hand, sounds thoroughly historical — which is to say filled with all the left-over bits of its past. None of it standardized and uncomplicated.
    Fascinating.
    My fictional Meeks Street house is two centuries old (in parts) and has been patchily renovated for all that time when it starts falling apart or gets caught on fire. Some of the chimneys are still wide enough for a skinny person to get through.
    You will be pleased to know the Meeks Street chimneys are cleaned with long stiff brushes. No climbing boys were mistreated in the production of these books.

    Reply
  69. I will admit, chagrined, that I have never looked up any chimneys but mine own, and that not so much and not so often. They’ve always been boring modern chimneys anyway.
    Your house, on the other hand, sounds thoroughly historical — which is to say filled with all the left-over bits of its past. None of it standardized and uncomplicated.
    Fascinating.
    My fictional Meeks Street house is two centuries old (in parts) and has been patchily renovated for all that time when it starts falling apart or gets caught on fire. Some of the chimneys are still wide enough for a skinny person to get through.
    You will be pleased to know the Meeks Street chimneys are cleaned with long stiff brushes. No climbing boys were mistreated in the production of these books.

    Reply
  70. I will admit, chagrined, that I have never looked up any chimneys but mine own, and that not so much and not so often. They’ve always been boring modern chimneys anyway.
    Your house, on the other hand, sounds thoroughly historical — which is to say filled with all the left-over bits of its past. None of it standardized and uncomplicated.
    Fascinating.
    My fictional Meeks Street house is two centuries old (in parts) and has been patchily renovated for all that time when it starts falling apart or gets caught on fire. Some of the chimneys are still wide enough for a skinny person to get through.
    You will be pleased to know the Meeks Street chimneys are cleaned with long stiff brushes. No climbing boys were mistreated in the production of these books.

    Reply
  71. Wicked sweet, Ms Bourne!
    This story reminded me of the stories Mum shared with me about the coal shute she had in the basement whilst in Chicago! I loved those memories as I didn’t have this myself. Yes, she told me how naughty messy coal can be and how delightful she was to watch it being delievered! Thank you for giving me a bit more info on the maintence end of it. Plus I agree with about Santa’s adaptability!
    Top cheers & merriment!

    Reply
  72. Wicked sweet, Ms Bourne!
    This story reminded me of the stories Mum shared with me about the coal shute she had in the basement whilst in Chicago! I loved those memories as I didn’t have this myself. Yes, she told me how naughty messy coal can be and how delightful she was to watch it being delievered! Thank you for giving me a bit more info on the maintence end of it. Plus I agree with about Santa’s adaptability!
    Top cheers & merriment!

    Reply
  73. Wicked sweet, Ms Bourne!
    This story reminded me of the stories Mum shared with me about the coal shute she had in the basement whilst in Chicago! I loved those memories as I didn’t have this myself. Yes, she told me how naughty messy coal can be and how delightful she was to watch it being delievered! Thank you for giving me a bit more info on the maintence end of it. Plus I agree with about Santa’s adaptability!
    Top cheers & merriment!

    Reply
  74. Wicked sweet, Ms Bourne!
    This story reminded me of the stories Mum shared with me about the coal shute she had in the basement whilst in Chicago! I loved those memories as I didn’t have this myself. Yes, she told me how naughty messy coal can be and how delightful she was to watch it being delievered! Thank you for giving me a bit more info on the maintence end of it. Plus I agree with about Santa’s adaptability!
    Top cheers & merriment!

    Reply
  75. Wicked sweet, Ms Bourne!
    This story reminded me of the stories Mum shared with me about the coal shute she had in the basement whilst in Chicago! I loved those memories as I didn’t have this myself. Yes, she told me how naughty messy coal can be and how delightful she was to watch it being delievered! Thank you for giving me a bit more info on the maintence end of it. Plus I agree with about Santa’s adaptability!
    Top cheers & merriment!

    Reply

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