London Labour and the London Poor, volume 2
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.
The Company charge the usual prices, and all
|the men employed have been brought up as sweepers. The patent machine is thus described:—|
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.