Daylight robbery

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Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 6:56 am



When I first moved to England I often wondered why you’d see bricked-up windows around the place. Were there light-fearing hermits living there? Did someone just get sick of cleaning their windows? The ones pictured here can be seen on Landsdowne Drive, next to London Fields, and I now know they are because a window tax that was introduced in 1696. This was an early form of income tax, because back then the idea of the government taxing, or even monitoring, people’s actual income was unthinkably meddlesome (imagine!).

Anyone with a window had to cough up, and the more windows you had the more you paid. Predictably, in an seventeenth-century example of blinging it up, some people flaunted their wealth by installing more windows than they actually needed. And those who wanted to avoid the tax simply bricked up their windows. This is also where the phrase daylight robbery is thought to originate.


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Re: Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 6:58 am


Portland Street, Southampton.

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Re: Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 7:03 am


Pair of 18th c Georgian houses in Stoke Newington, London with bricked-up windows.

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Re: Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 7:06 am


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Re: Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 7:08 am


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Re: Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 7:18 am


Bricked-up windows in Sutton put to creative use.

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Re: Daylight robbery

Post  eddie on Thu May 12, 2011 7:29 am

About 10 years ago, I went through an odd phase of taking photographs of bricked-up windows in my part of East London and eventually built up quite a little archive which is now stashed away in one of my photo albums.

I think this mild obsession must have had something to do with what was happening (or rather, with what wasn't happening) in my life at that time.

At any rate, I discovered a surprising number of such 'ghost' windows (as I called them)- and, viewed together, the collection of shots has a strangely disquieting cumulative effect.






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