Thousands Of People Are Just Learning Why Some Buildings Have Bricks Covering The Windows

brick covered window why not glass


One of the best things about the internet is the vast amount of random information you can learn with just a few clicks.

Want to know why a potato peeler swivels? Or the origin of the term March Madness? Or why you are required to open the window shades on a plane during takeoff and landing? The answers are all right there on the internet.

Case in point: this week a historian, author and TV presenter named Alice Loxton has been blowing thousands of people’s minds by revealing why some buildings have bricks covering up the windows instead of glass.

As Loxton explains, while standing in front of one such building, it is the “result of the notorious 1696 window tax.”

“Anyone living in a house with more than 10 windows was to be taxed, the idea being that only the wealthier would pay because they probably had bigger houses,” she continued.

“But the government underestimated the public’s determination to do everything in their power to avoid paying. Rather than cough up cash for the privilege of fresh air, many existing windows were bricked-up to reduce the total number of windows in a property to avoid paying the tax and leaving us with this strange feature that we see today.”

This window tax lasted for over 150 years! It was only repealed when the powers-that-be realized that the lack of light in people’s homes was causing residents ill health.

She also called the practice of covering windows with bricks “daylight robbery.”

“Also worth knowing that sometimes the bricked up spaces were a result of internal details (such as a staircase or chimney),” Alice Loxton wrote in the description. “There were many window taxes until 1851, when it was repealed after heavy campaigning by the likes of Charles Dickens.”

Sadly, it didn’t always work as governments back then would also on occasion tax the number of fireplaces and candles in a home. They really didn’t want people having any light in their homes apparently.

This same “window tax” was also in place in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Interestingly, right around the end of the Revolutionary War, Virginia passed an emergency tax on people based on the number of windows in the homes.

There was also the 1798 US Direct Tax that also used the number of windows in a home to determine tax payments.

Thankfully, that tax never caught on here in the states.

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.