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You may have taken a walk down the street recently and thought to yourself, ‘why are there so many bricked up windows in the UK?’ If you’re struggling to find out the answer, then fear not, as TikTok – again – has solved this ongoing mystery. Check it out:
While having windows in your property is now considered as a basic necessity, this certainly wasn't the case when you rewind back to the end of the 17th century.
Believe it or not, but the luxury of having an outside view from your property was very expensive thanks to the much-maligned window tax – yes, that actually existed.
Basically, the more windows you had in your house, the more window tax you were liable to pay. This idea was constructed by William III way back in 1696, a novel TikTok video from Lior Brosh reveals.
The thinking behind the idea was that the upper classes would have more windows in their houses, and could therefore pay more taxes.
Those from the poorer sections of society could avoid the tax altogether if their houses had fewer than 10 windows, according to the guys at amusingplanet.com.
However, what William may not have taken into account is that some home owners got wise to this and bricked up their windows to avoid paying the tax.
In truth, the whole idea turned into a bit of nightmare. High-rise buildings in large towns and cities were heavily penalised, and the tenants would have their rents raised extortionately thanks to the window tax.
Incredibly, this led to some properties being built without windows altogether – creating inhospitable living conditions at times. The issue was so serious that even the great Charles Dickens got involved with the debate.
The Oliver Twist author commented on the subject in magazine Household Worlds back in 1850. He said: “The adage ‘free as air’ has become obsolete by Act of Parliament. Neither air nor light have been free since the imposition of the window-tax. We are obliged to pay for what nature lavishly supplies to all, at so much per window per year; and the poor who cannot afford the expense are stinted in two of the most urgent necessities of life.”
With big hitters like Dickens involved, the window tax was repealed 156 years after being introduced. I guess they saw it clearly in the end...
Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@liorbrosh/Keith Morris/Alamy Stock Photo
Topics: UK News
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