A tall tale?

  Quickbeam 09:51 11 Apr 2008

Or is it...

I was speaking to some one last night (96 years young) and they told me this tale of the olden days like they like to, of how they could have there chimney swept on the cheap.

They would climb onto the roof with a live chicken, drop it down the chimney pot, and let it flap all the soot lose on the way down! It sounds so strangely bizarre, it's credible!!!

Apparently it didn't matter if the chicken broke any legs or wings on the way down... at the bottom it got it's neck broken for the cooking pot!

What do you make of it?

  [email protected] 09:55 11 Apr 2008

For a really clean chimney instead of a bush, a chicken was used, preferably a live one. The brick was dropped down with the rope and the chicken pulled through. The mad fluttering cleaned the chimney, partially plucked the chicken and if the chimney was hot, part cooked it. The terror caused adrenaline in the chicken and made it nicer to eat.
This was because fear improves the flavour.
click here

  Quickbeam 10:03 11 Apr 2008

I also note the spelling of 'chimney' as 'chimley', I seem to recall some spelt them as 'chimbley', must be a regional thing.

  peter99co 10:49 11 Apr 2008

What a Gem you found!

  Bingalau 11:26 11 Apr 2008

Quickbeam. I think that is brilliant and of course it absolutely true. However we in Liverpool just set fire to the chimbley and hoped the local bobby wasn't in the area. Also hoped it wasn't bad enough to bring out the fire brigade. But it cost money to have the chimney swept in those days. If we could have afforded a chicken then I don't doubt we would have used one.

Must admit I had never heard of that method before though. I wonder if a duck or a goose would have been used for bigger chimbleys?

  Diemmess 11:45 11 Apr 2008

My wife remembers a neighbourhood method of putting an Imp up the chimney.
I can remember the advert for a packet of something which was placed on the fire and "the fumes" did the trick?
It doesn't seem logical to me to expect any fumes (which I believe were spectacular) to do more than add to any deposits present unless is somehow caused a 'reely' chimney fire.

In older houses a roof fire was a real risk, if the pargeting was missing and a joist or purlin was exposed to leaking flames during a chimney fire.

  peter99co 12:05 11 Apr 2008

In the Fifties a Neighbour of ours would go to a local factory during the Annual Summer Shutdown and clean out the huge fireboxs of the boiler system.This would also involve replacing brickwork in the firebox where it was needed.
The fires were only allowed to be put out for two weeks a year and how he managed to operate in these conditions we never knew. At the start of the job the firebox would still retain heat and his deadline was to finish before the weekend so the fires could be re-lit for the next 12 months.His Part Time day job was a chimmney sweep and all the soot he collected would be dug into the gardens around us to improve the soil. He grew wonderful Roses.

  Bingalau 12:08 11 Apr 2008

Raven. Thanks for that link, I wrongly credited it to Quickbeam accidentally. Sorry.

  Quickbeam 12:46 11 Apr 2008

I've sent for the book. He crops up on radio 4 from time to time and is always alive with that dry wit.

  [email protected] 12:55 11 Apr 2008

The line under the picture
"Granny didn't have a bouquet so she came as one"
made me chuckle:-))

  birdface 12:59 11 Apr 2008

Or.If you could not afford a chicken.Put plenty wood on the fire till the soot in chimney went on fire.All you needed then was an old damp coalbag to cover the fireplace to stop any hot embers from getting into the room.There were not many spare chickens about during the war.1939-45.

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