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THE WINDOW TAX
On my tour around Britain, a few years ago, I was wondering why in some villages or cities, windows in the houses were bricked up !
I found that very strange because with only a few windows, the house inside must have been very dark. I was used to the closed shutters in Italy, to keep the sun and heat out, but in this country it rained as much as in mine, Belgium ! Finally I asked our guide and learned something very special !
The windows tax was imposed in England in 1696, was repealed in 1851 after campaigners argued that it was a ‘tax of health’, and a ‘tax on light and air’, as well as being an unequal tax with the greatest burden on the middle and lower classes and it must have been very unhealthy too especially in winter when it is so dark. The person who has invented such a tax must have been insane !
As early as 1718 it was noted that there was a decline in revenue raised by the tax due to windows being blocked up. It was also observed that new houses were being built with fewer windows.
There was a strong agitation in England in favour of the abolition of the tax during the winter of 1850–51, and it was accordingly repealed on 24 July 1851, and a tax on inhabited houses substituted.
You can read all about the window tax here
Today it's just the opposite, because light is good for the health and the governments want us to be in good health and all doctors prescribe Vitamin D, because apparently our population has a lack of light.
Transcription : No 1 Gordon Court
The 25th – Day of March 1755
Received then of Mr John Hetherington the sum of five shillings being the year’s assessment due this day 1755 charged upon his Dwelling-House by Virtue of several Acts of Parliament for laying a Duty on Houses, windows or lights. £0 5s 0d.
By John Fleming Collector
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