London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2

Mayhew, Henry


Of the "Ramoneur" Company.


THE Patent Ramoneur Company demands, perhaps, a special notice. It was formed between and years ago, and has now stations: in Little , ; another in New-road, ; a in Charles-place, ; and the in , Portland-town.

This Company has been formed," the prospectus stated, "for the purpose of cleansing chimneys with the Patent Ramoneur Machine, and introducing various other improvements in the business of chimney sweeping. Chimneys are daily swept with this machine where others have failed.

The Company charge the usual prices, and all


the men employed have been brought up as sweepers. The patent machine is thus described:—

The Patent Ramoneur Machine consists of four brushes, forming a square head, which, by means of elastic springs, contracts or expands, according to the space it moves in; the rods attached to this head or brush are supplied at intervals with a universal spring-joint, capable of turning even a right angle, and the whole is surmounted with a double revolving ball, having also a universal spring-joint, which leads the brush with certainty into every corner, cleansing its route most perfectly.

The recommendation held out to the public is, that the patented chimney-machine sweeps cleaner than that in general use, and for the reasons assigned; and that, being constructed with more and better springs, it is capable of "turning even a right angle," which the common machine often leaves unswept. This was and is commonly said of the difference between the cleansing of the chimney by a climbing-boy and that effected by the present mechanical appliances in general use —the boy was "better round a corner."

The patent machines now worked in London are in number, and men are thus employed. Each man receives as a weekly wage, always in money, , besides a suit of clothes yearly. The suit consists of a jacket, waistcoat, and trousers, of dark-coloured corduroy; also a "frock" or blouse, to wear when at work, and a cap; the whole being worth from to This payment is about equivalent to that received weekly by the journeymen in the regular or honourable trade; for although higher in nominal amount as a weekly remuneration, the Ramoneur operatives are not allowed any perquisites whatever. The resident or manager at each station is also a working chimney-sweeper for the Company, and at the same rate as the others, his advantage being that he lives rent-free. At station which I visited, the resident had comfortable-looking up-stairs'--rooms (the stations being all in small streets), where he and his wife lived; while the "cellar," which was indeed but the ground floor, although somewhat lower than the doorstep, was devoted to business purposes, the soot being stored there. It was boarded off into separate compartments, being at the time quite full of soot. All seemed as clean and orderly as possible. The rent of those rooms, unfurnished, would not be less than or a week, so that the resident's payment may be put at about a year. The patentmachine operatives sweep, on an average, the same number of chimneys each, as a master chimneysweeper's men in a good way of business in the ordinary trade.

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 Title Page
Of the Street-Sellers of Second-Hand Articles
Of the Street-Sellers of Live Animals
Of the Street-Sellers of Mineral Productions and Natural Curiosities
Of the Street-Buyers
Of the Street-Jews
Of the Street-Finders or Collectors
Of the Streets of London
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the London Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Sweepers of Old, and the Climbing Boys
Of the Chimney-Sweepers of the Present Day
Of the General Characteristics of the Working Chimney-Sweepers
Sweeping of the Chimneys of Steam-Vessels
Of the 'Ramoneur' Company
Of the Brisk and Slack Seasons, and the Casual Trade among the Chimney- Sweepers
Of the 'Leeks' Among the Chimney-Sweepers
Of the Inferior Chimney-Sweepers -- the 'Knullers' and 'Queriers'
Of the Fires of London
Of the Sewermen and Nightmen of London
Of the Wet House-Refuse of London
Of the Means of Removing the Wet House-Refuse
Of the Quantity of Metropolitan Sewage
Of Ancient Sewers
Of the Kinds and Characteristics of Sewers
Of the Subterranean Character of the Sewers
Of the House-Drainage of the Metropolis as Connected With the Sewers
Of the London Street-Drains
Of the Length of the London Sewers and Drains
Of the Cost of Constructing the Sewers and Drains of the Metropolis
Of the Uses of Sewers as a Means of Subsoil Drainage
Of the City Sewerage
Of the Outlets, Ramifications, Etc., of the Sewers
Of the Qualities, Etc., of the Sewage
Of the New Plan of Sewerage
Of the Management of the Sewers and the Late Commissions
Of the Powers and Authority of the Present Commissions of Sewers
Of the Sewers Rate
Of the Cleansing of the Sewers -- Ventilation
Of 'Flushing' and 'Plonging,' and Other Modes of Washing the Sewers
Of the Working Flushermen
Of the Rats in the Sewers
Of the Cesspoolage and Nightmen of the Metropolis
Of the Cesspool System of London
Of the Cesspool and Sewer System of Paris
Of the Emptying of the London Cesspools by Pump and Hose
Statement of a Cesspool-Sewerman
Of the Present Disposal of the Night-Soil
Of the Working Nightmen and the Mode of Work