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  • Amy

Thou shalt not... look through your own windows?

Back to work. Hmph. Not many of us are lucky enough to be able to run in London during the few daylight hours that are kicking around at this time of year. But if you are, there are a few historic remnants with a charming story behind them to keep your eye out for...

In the early 19th century, when times were hard and money was worth almost its own weight, some Londoners used to clip the edge of their valuable coins, smelt them down and make new ones.

The authorities were not happy. What could they do to balance the books? They couldn't raise income tax because there was no income tax before the 1840s.

Instead, perhaps rather oddly, window tax was introduced in 1696. The Tax was implemented to ‘Make good the deficiency of the clipped money’.

The Tax depended on how many windows you had. But, there were exemptions if the room was a dairy.

Today, you can still see the evidence of the 'inventive' ways people dealt with this 'inventive' tax...

Keep an eye out not only for bricked up windows, but also an abundance of building fronts with ‘cheese room’ or ‘dairy’ that were rapidly painted above the upper rooms following the introduction of the tax.

That's Londoners for you.

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