A Little More About The Woburn Sweep
Long before The Woburn Sweep, I grew up in the mining valleys of South Wales; where coal fires were our only source of heating. We burned dirty coal and chimney fires were a regular spectacle. Luckily my grandfather, who worked in the mines, was the street sweep and our chimney was regularly cleaned. I used to watch him sweeping our two flues in awe. When I was around ten years old I began helping him, both at home and down the street. He never sent me up the chimney, thank heavens, but my first job was to blow a whistle outside in the street when the brush appeared through the top of the chimney. I progressed to sweeping alongside him and then on my own. However, when I was eighteen I left the valleys for the student life and spent the subsequent forty years teaching and didn’t sweep again.
When I retired from teaching I wanted a second career that would be completely different to my first one and it’s no surprise that I decided to revisit my youth and become a full-time sweep. I was conscious that things have moved on in the sweeping business and was impressed with the training and ethos of the Guild of Master Sweeps, so I enrolled with them to become a fully trained member; which was rather like being a sexagenarian apprentice.