Saturday, 9 March 2013
The Chimney Sweep.
For a hundred years a metal cast of a little man carrying brushes hung above the door of the Hull family in Boston. In August 1970 it went, along with four generations of chimney sweeps.
For the previous 25 years the little man had hung over the door of 4 Spain Place Boston, the home of Mr. Harry Hull but in that August of 1970 Harry brought the little man indoors, for he himself decided to retire and there was no-one to continue the family tradition.
Edgar Hull, Harry's Great Grandfather, started the family business at the time of the Franco-Prussian war and then Harry's Grandfather, his Father and then Harry himself carried it on but Harry's children would have nothing to do with it.
"Tradition is all very well," said Harry, "but we encouraged the boys to do well at school so they could have a better job than me."
Harry was 67 at that time and he swept his first chimney when he was 15. He had his own round when he was 20 and for the next few years he was averaging 80 chimneys a week. He started off in the country while his Father concentrated on the town chimneys but as his Father grew older Harry began to take over his town round. His father, Mr. William Hull, had retired 25 years previously and since then Harry had concentrated on sweeping chimneys within Boston Borough. He used to do his round with a horse and trap but in the late 1920's he bought his first car, a Model T Ford, and since that time had always had motorised transport.
He recalled making a few pounds out of Lady Beryl Groves who owned Revesby Abbey (about 10 or 12 miles from Boston) after the Second World War. "Her estate agent instructed me to sweep the chimneys there, when the Americans who were billeted there went home. There were 60 chimneys and it took me over a week to clean them all."
One of the reasons Harry retired in 1970 was " all this gas and electric coming in " but even Harry went over to electricity two years previously.......................................