REMEMBER WHEN: Chimney sweep retires after cleaning 65,000 chimneys and boilers

Nicola Hine


Nicola Hine

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Welcome to Remember when..., which sees assistant editor Nicola Hine take a weekly look back through our archives, spanning nearly 150 years, to bring you snapshots from Maidenhead's past. This week featured a retiring chimney sweep, a racing clown, and an idea for a new railway station.

1976: A real-life Bert from Mary Poppins hung up his rods and brushes after 25 years of cleaning chimneys in the area.

George Burfoot retired from the job which had seen him clean about 65,000 chimneys and boilers.

The 66-year-old was living in Maidenhead and working as a baker when he decided to take up the trade for fun.

“I meet different people all the time and I’ve made some smashing friends,” the Moneyrow Green resident told the Advertiser.

“The soot never bothers me, it comes off with soap and water.”

Mr Burfoot’s memories of the job included losing seven rods and a brush in one particularly crooked chimney.

A day’s work started at 6am and often wouldn’t finish until after dark.

1986: Racers at the annual Boyne Hill and All Saints schools fun run were amused to see a clown on the start line.

The event took place at Maidenhead Thicket and race distances ranged from 200 metres for pre-school competitors to 3,000 metres for the senior events.

It raised £150 for the schools association.

1976: Plans for a railway station for Cox Green were set to be put to British Rail.

The scheme was the idea of Maidenhead commuter Mike Findlay, 32, who said a lot of people in the area felt the need for it, particularly as nearby Woodlands Park was expanding due to new housing developments. The proposed site of the station was at the Highfield Lane bridge.

Mr Findlay visualised the station as being equivalent to Burnham and Taplow’s stops, with commuter trains to London calling at it.

1976: Applications to build a new Sainsbury’s supermarket in the town centre were submitted to the District Council.

The 17,650sq ft shop was set to occupy the Lex Mead garage site off Market Street, where it still stands today – albeit in a refurbished form –  and include an upper storey car park, reached via the council’s multi storey car park.


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