Women Chimney Sweeps Fine with the Dirty Work
Suffolk of England was established so long ago, it is classified as an ancient city in the United Kingdom; and yet the “first woman chimney sweep” in the city was announced in recent months. The announcement of Jenny Calver of Ipswich offering chimney sweeping is a rare kind of news indeed. Although for Calver the choice is a natural one for numerous personal reasons, women are incredibly outnumbered by men in the rather filthy profession of chimney sweeping.
The uniqueness of the profession she is in has not escaped Calver in the least. In addition to cleaning chimneys, she advertises as a “Lucky Sweep” who will attend celebrations such as weddings. For centuries it has been considered good luck to see a chimney sweep on your wedding day, and Calver enjoys her role as a harbinger of good fortune.
Katie Sweep Chimney Service
Since one female chimney sweep is extremely newsworthy, how about an entire team of women chimney sweeps? Established in 2007, Katie Sweep Chimney Service has an experienced team of all-female chimney sweeps and is owned by Kate Wiggins. The five women sweeps of York, U.K., stay busy cleaning chimneys across Yorkshire. The other York women besides Wiggins who don’t mind working to clean sooty chimneys are Bayhan Akyollu, Val Sherwood, Emma Murgatroid, and Jayne Hughes.
Wiggins says that an increase in the popularity of multi-fuel stoves and wood-burning stoves has led to a growing base of average-sized family homes that she cleans, along with large estate homes. The Katie Sweep team advertises their work as important for removing obstructions, such as creosote, that can result in both chimney fires and hazardous carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to Wiggins, her team of women chimney sweeps loves the work. They are very proud of providing excellent service to their customers. Of course, she gave not a hint of complaint about dealing with the sooty equipment and tools of the trade. The fact is that woman’s work has always included a lot of dirty and unpleasant chores, which makes chimney sweeping perfectly natural.
Penny Poppins, Master Chimney Sweep
Penny Robins of Westcliff, England, has adopted the trade name “Penny Poppins” as a clever nod to the story of Mary Poppins and the beloved chimney sweep Bert. Robins got training as a master sweeper after learning she had lost a job. She had previously explored the idea of being a lady chimney sweep as a result of having to wait for months to get her chimney cleaned one fall. She knew the demand for more chimney sweeps was there. Though not sure at first whether it was a proper niche for a woman, Robins finds that she enjoys the job.
One of the benefits Robins has discovered is that a lot of women are simply more comfortable having another woman in their home to clean the chimney. There is no question about a woman chimney sweep being somewhat of a novelty. Robins knows of no other women in her area that work as a sweep. According to her research, there were nine women sweeps in the entire country, when she was interviewed in the summer of 2014.
There are obviously about ten women chimney sweeps in England. There may be even fewer in the U.S. If chimney sweeps are lucky, perhaps meeting a woman chimney sweep is even luckier – they are far rarer than four-leaf clovers.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
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