Windows! Yep! The window tax was a property tax based on the number of windows in a house. It was a significant social, cultural, and architectural force in England, France, Ireland and Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. This tax was considered a “Property Tax”. We never had this tax in the U.S. That’s a blessing, we have enough taxes here.
How much was the window tax on houses back then? When the window tax was introduced, it consisted of two parts: a flat-rate house tax of 2 shillings per house, and a variable tax for the number of windows above ten windows. Properties with between ten and twenty windows paid an extra four shillings and those above twenty windows paid an extra eight shillings.
A shilling was worth 12 pennies so if I had ten windows in my house back then I would have to pay $1.20 for the windows and a flat rate of $.24 for the house. My tax for the year would be $1.44. That amount of money back in the 18th and 19th centuries not easy to come by. The poor people boarded up all of their windows. The sun never shined through their windows into the house.
Is this when Rickets started? Yep, it started in the 17th century and was not eradicated until the researchers of the time found that sunlight was a cure for Rickets. Nowadays we know that vitamin D will keep people from getting rickets. But sunlight is the least expensive way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
The tax was introduced in England and Wales to cover the money lost because of Money Clipping. Back in the day coins were made of pure silver and pure gold. These metals are a soft metal and could be shaved off around the edges and no one would be the wiser. These pieces were then melted down into bars and sold to goldsmiths to do with whatever they pleased.
People bricked or boarded up their windows to save money for necessities in their daily activities.
In England and Wales, it was introduced in 1696 and was repealed in 1851, 156 years after first being introduced.