The window tax was one of the weirdest and most hated taxes in England. Introduced in 1696, it was initially payable only by landlords of houses with 10 or more windows. While the exemption was intended to protect the poor, it only helped the poor who lived in personal small houses in the villages.
The poor in the cities lived in big rented apartment buildings with more than 10 windows. The landlords paid the taxes on the windows and increased rents in response. To avoid these payments, some landlords bricked up the windows of their existing houses and built new houses with insufficient windows. The landlords could not simply reduce the size of the windows because even the smallest hole was counted as a window and taxed accordingly.
As more landlords bricked up their windows, the law was amended to reduce the minimum number exempted from the tax from 10 to 7. This forced landlords to brick up more windows in the already poorly ventilated homes.
The tax was very unpopular, and people soon started speaking up against it. Doctors blamed the poorly ventilated homes for the increasing cases of diseases like cholera and smallpox. The tax was finally repealed in 1851, after decades of protests and public backlash.
Now I'm thinking that the window tax must have been a real "pane" in the backside. Sorry...just couldn't resist!
Coffee out on the patio again today.