This picture has been shared online claiming to show a pre child labour laws chimney sweep.
It does not.
I analyse and study historical photos for a living, when I saw this one I immediately knew it was not a Victorian image.
Child chimney sweeps became a thing of the past in Britain around 1875 after an addiction to the ‘Chimney Sweepers’ Act, requiring sweeps to be licensed.
The police also started to enforce this act and previous child protection legislations.
So this photo, if it was real, should have been made before 1875 or thereabouts.
Just knowing a photo isn’t really from a certain era is not enough to debunk the fake story surrounding it, for that you have to trace the actual origin of the photo, we need to know the truth behind this picture.
So I did.
It wasn’t very hard to find the original photo, which, as I suspected, was not very old at all.
The original description answered all my questions;
Four year-old Tommy Stafford dressed as a chimney-sweep for the fancy-dress competition at the East Street Market centenary celebrations, London, 18 August 1980.
Photo by David Levenson/Keystone/Getty Images
If you see the picture shared online with a claim of authenticity, please direct the person posting it to this article.
Picture(s) found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to this picture, I only share it here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.
If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall remove it right away.