Cruelty to a climbing boy, 1855

Northern Daily Times

Friday April 7th 1855

Cruelty to a Climbing boy

[Manchester examiner]

George DUNN, a Master Chimney-sweep, was charged on Thursday before the city magistrates, by Mr WOOD, the well-known protector of the young chimney-sweeps, with cruelty to a little boy named Francis O’NEIL.

From Mr WOOD’S own statement to the bench and the lad’s own evidence, it appeared that about 5 yrs ago, while going from the workhouse to the chapel, the boy was stolen and sold to a chimney-sweep, with whom he remained for some time, when he was again stolen at 12 o’clock at night in Blackburn.

He had, been for some time in the employment of the prisoner, who, on the morning of the 8th Feb last, beat him, because he was sick and unable to go to work, he then turned him out of doors.

The little fellow said, while he was with the prisoner he often had to beg for something to eat.

Mr BENT, for the defence called the witnesses, who swore the prisoner was a humane man, and fed his boys well, they had never known him beat the lad, one said, the lad was never turned out of doors but ran away.

Mr MAUDE said, the cruelty exercised to these boys was shocking. There was no doubt violence had been used on the lad some time ago, and he was now out of DUNN’S clutches.

At present he did not see that any further steps could be taken, but the prisoner might be rest assured a strict watch will be kept on him.

Mr WOOD asked the bench if they could grant a summons against the prisoner for employing the boy to climb chimneys.

Mr MAUDE said, they would, if evidence confirmatory of the boy’s could be given.

Mr WOOD promised, such evidence would be forthcoming.


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