In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Chimney sweeps - Climbing boys

Victorian children working as 'climbing boys'

Charlie is another of the children sleeping rough at Billingsgate Market. He explains how he started out at Covent Garden, where his father was a street act with a special trick - allowing bystanders to break a stone on his chest with a sledge hammer.

But one day it all goes wrong...and Charlie is left an orphan.

Charlie spends a final night in the cramped lodging house where he lived with his father. A boy there offers to help Charlie find a job as a sweeper, only to steal Charlie's jacket. Then a passing sweep spots Charlie and seeing that he's about the right size to become a 'climbing boy' offers Charlie a job working with him.

Charlie then recounts his early experiences as a chimney sweep - the constant choking from soot, the cramped spaces, the painful knees and elbows, the fear of being trapped...

Victorians - Chimneysweeps - supporting resources:

Programmes to download

Programmes to download at any time

Download programmes

A collection of programmes to download as mp3 files at any time. Includes dance and music.



Current podcasts

See all School Radio and other Learning podcasts available from the BBC Podcast Directory.

Contact us

Contact us

Contact us

We are always pleased to receive your feedback, suggestions and pupils' work.

Jarvis Cocker recalls Singing Together

Jarvis Cocker remembers Singing Together

Archive on 4

Join Jarvis Cocker on Radio 4 to remember the long-running School Radio series 'Singing Together'.

Curriculum for Excellence

100 years since World War 1

WW1 Performance Pack

WW1 Performance Pack

Commemorate 100 years since WW1 by staging our specially-written play 'Archie Dobson's War'.

Private Peaceful - listen now!

Click to listen to Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Private Peaceful

All 13 episodes of Michael Morpurgo's moving WW1 story are available to listen to online.

Teacher's notes

Teacher's Notes

Online Teacher's Notes

Notes to support the programmes including details of all the series content.