We pride ourselves on providing a clean, reliable and friendly service that offers great value and minimum fuss. We’ve been sweeping chimneys for more than 120 years, and we don’t think we could have been in this business for that long without being rather good at it!
Personable and professional, our sweeps operate to the highest standards in the industry thanks to comprehensive training and regular reassessments of their standards. As well as a clear police check, each is covered by a minimum of £2m public liability insurance and also has professional indemnity insurance. They’re also trained on interacting with people who have dementia or disabilities.
They arrive in a branded uniform and fully liveried van, and they treat your property as if it were their own – we have a special process to protect your carpets and floors, ensuring the area around your chimney is as clean when we leave as it was when we arrived.
As a franchised business, the majority of our sweeps are local community business owners, so they really do care about your satisfaction – and in the highly unlikely event that you’re not happy with your sweep, there’s a head office team you can speak with.
But don’t just take our word for it... find your local sweep to read what their customers have to say about the service they provide.
Over 120 years of heritage
We've been sweeping since the 19th century! Wilkins Chimney Sweep was established in 1895 by Tom Wilkins in Newbury. Tom cycled to his customers with his brush and rods strapped to his bike's cross bar; understandably, he covered a rather smaller area than we do now!
The business was eventually passed from Tom to his son Bill, who continued to build on the reputation his father enjoyed. Bill had three daughters, none of whom wanted to be chimney sweeps, but his son-in-law, Frank Shurey, took up the reins when Bill was ready to hang up his brush.
Frank’s son chose not to continue the family business and the company was sold in 1998 to Peter Harris, who had been helping Frank part-time for a number of years. Peter expanded the business in 2006, taking on a full-time employee in the Newbury area.
In 2011, Peter and his wife Louise franchised Wilkins Chimney Sweep to expand the business nationwide, while still maintaining the quality for which we are known.
In 2018, Darren Taylor took over the Wilkins franchise and became the new Managing Director. He continues to maintain the high standards that Wilkins have become known for and is keen to meet new people to help expand the service nationwide.
We still uphold the traditional values of all those years past, and our sweeping practices remain the same - but now we use a vacuum to complement the rods and brushes, and we travel by van not bicycle!
We sweep chimneys all year round and, in addition, we also offer cage, cap and cowl fitting, as well as removing bird’s nests. We also provide a CCTV survey service in some areas.
Some local groups may be offered a discount – please ask your local Wilkins Chimney Sweep for details.
Look out for our distinctive vans with their smart black and yellow livery - they're now driving the streets from Whitley Bay right down to the south coast.
We like to think Tom would be proud of how the business he started, which still bears his name all these years later, has grown.
Tom Wilkins, left, circa 1895
Frank Shurey & Bill Wilkins, 1995
Peter & Louise Harris, 2013
Darren Taylor, Peter & Louise, 2018
We take standards seriously, and one of the ways in which we demonstrate that is by operating to the practices laid out by our industry bodies.
All Wilkins Chimney Sweeps work to the code of conduct (see below) of the Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps.
APICS is the only organisation which insists on a Police Check as one of its criteria for new membership (it should be noted all Wilkins Chimney Sweeps have a clean Police Check irrespective of APICS membership).
There are only four chimney sweeping associations in the UK who are recognised by HETAS – see right – and APICS is one of them. The other three are the Guild of Master Sweeps, Sweepsafe and National Association of Chimney Sweeps.
All Wilkins Chimney Sweeps work to the code of conduct (below) laid down by APICS.
HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) is the official body recognised by the government to approve biomass and solid fuel domestic heating appliances, fuels and services, including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses.
Chimney sweeping is a largely unregulated industry but HETAS provides a ‘HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep’ registration. Chimney sweeps holding this qualification have been trained and taken an exam of competence. Their technical understanding of open fire and woodburner installations is considerable.
APICS Code of Conduct
To hold adequate public liability insurance.
To give the public a reliable, efficient sweeping service.
To ensure that APICS standards are maintained.
To, at all times, carry sufficient equipment to complete the work they are employed to do.
To take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the customer and their premises.
To ensure that premises are kept clean by using suitable equipment and an industrial vacuum.
To ensure that the chimney has had a suitable brush, or power sweeping head, passed through the entire length of the chimney (cowl permitting) and that all resulting soot and other debris has been removed. Gas, Oil and biomass appliances need specialist engineers for servicing. Cleaning of these should not be attempted unless experienced or qualified. All other solid fuel appliances should be fully cleaned and any faults notified to the customer or their agent.
To fully inform the customer, in writing, of any problem that has been detected.
To advise the customer/client of the importance of having a chimney swept to the requirements of BS EN 15287-1:2007 including the dangers of CO poisoning.
Members are required to register as HETAS approved sweeps within 18 months of becoming full members.
Members are expected to maintain records of work they have carried out (for at least 12 months) in case of any subsequent investigation in which APICS may be expected to play a role.
Members are required to undergo a criminal record check.