Tony Sanders opened Whitstable Stove Shop but will still continue to sweep chimneys, under Chimney Cleaners. His grandfather, Ernest Weller, started the business in the sixties and as a child Mr Sanders helped his grandfather during the school holidays. His father Len Sanders joined his father’s company and the business expanded to cover Whitstable and Faversham. When Ernest retired at 65 years of age, his son continued to maintain their existing clientèle trading under L Sanders Chimney Sweeps.
When Mr Sanders turned 16 he decided to become an electrician and it was only recently that he decided to return to the chimney sweeping industry. When asked why he returned, Mr Sanders commented that he enjoys meeting different people everyday, he went on to joke that his job is a lot easier to do today. The older can brushes were notorious for breaking when compared with the newer nylon versions. He also said that cleaning up with electric vacuum cleaners is much easier as some houses didn’t even have electricity when the cleaners were first released.
Mr Sanders also creates chimney themed floats and stalls for community events. A 17ft chimney float won first price at a carnival a few years ago. He also appears at weddings as a ‘lucky sweep’, a tradition that was started by King George II when a chimney sweep stopped the king’s bolting horse. The king later decreed that chimney sweeps were the bringers of luck and should be treated with respect.