WHO remembers Glasgow’s old chimney sweeps?

Regular Times Past reader Dan Harris got in touch after we ran a story about the lost but not forgotten jobs which used to be a feature on our streets, such as chapper-uppers, rag and bone men and lamplighters.

“The photo of the chimney sweep reminded me of a calamitous incident in the tenement I lived in when I was younger, we were up on the top floor,” smiles Dan.

“In his left arm, the sweep in the picture is holding a soot collecting sheet, which had a double purpose.

“Firstly it was draped from the mantlepiece above the fireplace, to prevent the loosened soot from pouring out on to the floor of the room.

Glasgow chimney sweep. Pic: Glasgow City Archives

Glasgow chimney sweep. Pic: Glasgow City Archives

“Then, once the soot had been removed from the chimney, the sweep would skilfully collect it in the sheet.

“However I remember one day, the sweep coming to our flat to clean out our chimney.”

Dan adds: “All was going well and he done everything he was supposed to do – until we heard the residents in the rooms below us shouting in horror, and we realised he had swept the wrong chimney....

“Those poor people, and their kitchen, were covered in soot…”

READ MORE: Chapper-uppers and leeries - memories of Glasgow's long lost jobs

Dan says the subject of chimneys reminds him of another memory, back to the time when he and his group of pals who, as boys supported Patrick Thistle.

“We blame the infamous Firhill Lum for our lack of height,” he jokes.

“We started going to Firhill when we were at primary school.

“ We were so young and small, we got lifted over the turnstyles for free and we sat on our dad’s shoulders to watch the match.

“Unfortunately, we were at the end which faced uphill towards the tenements where this infamous Firhill Lum was located.

“On too many occasions, when Thistle were losing a match, someone would light up his lum and the smoke would drift down to us, covering the faces of those of us up high on shoulders first.”

He laughs: “Gas central heating saved future generations from the fate suffered by mine….”

This fantastic photograph from Glasgow City Archives captures a city chimney sweep ready for action, and the shot from our own archives is a reminder of how difficult the life of a sweep could be.

Alexander Matheson, 65, was photographed rescuing Tiger the kitten from the chimney stack in September 1955.

On the subject of long-lost jobs, Mike Lewis got in touch a few weeks ago trying to track down a Glasgow brush-makers’ business in Dennistoun, as part of his research into his family tree.

One reader, who only gave her name as Sheila, says she recalls a brushmaker firm on 221 Caledonia Road around the 1940s and 50s.

It is a little away from Dennistoun, but we have passed the details on to Mike.

“It was up a close, we called it the High Backs court,” she says. “Three men sat at a table, with buckets of tar, making the brushes.

“The windows opened inwards, but we stood at the iron bars outside watching until a neighbour from the first floor chased us. I’m over 80 now, but I remember it so well.”

Can any other readers help Mike trace his brush-making ancestors?

Anyone else remember the Firhill Lum, or did your father or grandfather work as a chimney sweep?

What long-lost occupations can you remember from days gone by? We would love to hear about them.

Share your memories and photographs with Times Past by getting in touch.

You can email ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow East Investment Park, Glasgow G32 8FG.