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Chimney sweeping tales. Finding Treasure in a chimney

Almost on a daily basis I am ask what interesting things do you find in a chimney and on most days of course it’s a mixture of soot, bird poo, chimney lining, nesting material, old newspapers and the odd pigeon. However over the years I have been sweeping I have found a few interesting things and I will share a few of them.
One Day working with my father John Hodgson while working in a four storey terraced house in Islington London, (These are the houses which have flat roofs and are interconnected).
Anyways our customer that day was an American lady who was very insistent that her chimney would be the lucky one, we asked her why and she told us of a story where a burglar was caught on the roof of the end terrace and that his swag bag was empty. The police surmised that the loot was discarded by way of one of the many chimneys he passed or by being thrown to an accomplice on the ground.
The lady customer in question refused to leave the room throughout the entire sweeping process like someone waiting for a slot machine to pay out we thought it comical but then just as we reached the last bend we heard something crashing down the flue, we pulled back the sheet and there it was a solid silver Victorian toasting fork like the one in the picture. “I told you so ” she said. As she grabbed it from the soot.

After the toasting fork incident I always checked the hidey hole in Georgian houses, these holes were where items of value were stashed before the days of safes as we know them. When the fire was alight it was impossible to access said hole without being badly burned so was a safe space.
On the date of this story I checked the hidey hole expecting another hand of soot but instead I came across a tobacco tin. I looked inside the Tin to find some baseball cards wrapped in wax paper. Today I don’t know really what they were but I’m sure they were very valuable as I I was paid over £200 for them back in the 1990s from a specialist shop. If only I had access to eBay back then life would be better I’m sure. Incidentally I offered them to my customer who declined and told me it was a tip laughing to himself.

I will post to other interesting chimney sweeping tales at a later date.

Kindest Regards
Daniel Hodgson


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