Month: March 2019

London children as young as 4-years-old forced to squeeze through miles of pitch-black, claustrophobic, suffocating 7-inch chimney flues (1800’s).

The child had no choice. Sold as cheap labor by poverty-stricken parents with too many mouths to feed, they were between 4 and 8 years of age, too young to defend themselves or flee their owner and live on their own. Unfortunately, they were just the right size to squeeze into narrow, pitch black, claustrophobic, suffocatingly-hellish 7-inch chimney flues. The dangers child chimney sweeps faced In early 1800 England, immediately after the Industrial Revolution and during the Victorian Era, child chimney sweeps faced a hellish task. They were lowered into narrow chimneys by their owner and forced to clean soot, grime, and creosote from the chimney flue. Falling or being burnt to death was always a possibility but worse, if they lost their way in the complex

That time a sewer worker discovered a drainage pipe leading into a vault full of gold

In the early 1800’s, London’s sewer systems were a mess. Early household cesspools, cisterns located underneath homes that collected waste water sewerage, had migrated to a labyrinth of underground tunnels snaking throughout London. The sewer system was constructed to solve London’s disease problem by directing sewage away from homes and into the Thames river. For the system to work properly, the sewer pipes had to be periodically repaired and cleared of debris. Sewer workers, such as Randolph Gentry, made a decent living doing the dirty work. About 1836, Randolph Gentry was directed to make a repair to a drain in east London, just a few blocks north of the River Thames. During the repair work, Gentry checked ancillary drainage systems to ensure they contained no debris.