The Tronmen

50] The Tronmen were the chimney sweepers. This important task was unorganised until the mid eighteenth century when twelve men, previously porters, were officially appointed chimney sweeps to the city and given a retainer of a guinea a year.  They were stationed in a shed attached to the Guardhouse in the middle of the High Street near the tron, the weighing machine in front of the Tron Church – hence their name.  The illustrations show their clothing – flat bonnet, knee-beeches with a short apron.  The tools of their trade were a ladder, a besom (broom), a coil of rope and a metal ball, designed to pull the broom down a chimney and sweep it clear.  Kay states that the taller of the two men was a well known figure in the City named David Gilchrist.  The Tronmen formed themselves into a Society and as the city expanded they allowed others to join. The high entry fee of five pounds indicates that it must have been a profitable trade.  Only the original twelve received the annual guinea and only they were permitted to wear the characteristic flat bonnet.  In 1811 the Society was disbanded; the demolition of the Guardhouse had removed their accommodation and the developing fire service had made them redundant.