People are just learning why some buildings have bricks instead of glass windows



The fascinating history behind the once-common architectural practice was revealed by an expert keen to share her knowledge about the practice dubbed 'daylight robbery'

London house has glass and brick covered windows
People were shocked to realise the reason why windows are often bricked-up

If you've ever walked past a home and spotted windows covered up by bricks - you might be surprised to learn the reason why.

A common sight across much of England, not everyone knows the history behind the unusual architecture.

Thankfully, historian Alice Loxton has come to the rescue after sharing the fascinating truth in an educational Instagram post.

Taking to the platform as @history_alice, the author and TV presenter revealed many of these windows were covered up as part of tax-avoidance schemes.

Filming in front of one of the famed properties, Alice talked viewers through the practice, which was dubbed 'daylight robbery'.

Pointing to a set of bricked-up windows, she explained: "This was a 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.

"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."

The windows are a common sight in some parts of the country (


Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Her caption added: "Daylight robbery! Also worth knowing that sometimes the bricked up spaces were a result of internal details (such as a staircase or chimney). There were many window taxes until 1851, when it was repealed after heavy campaigning by the likes of Charles Dickens."

In response to the video, which amassed over 35,000 likes, impressed viewers were quick to thank the expert for solving what was previously a mystery to them.

"Interesting! And awful, really. To have to give up light and fresh air!! To be taxed for it in the first place!" read one reply. "Fascinating how the history is full of stories of oppressions!" said a second.

Meanwhile, someone revealed: "In Belgium we can still see a few of these where people have bricked windows and then painted a window onto the brick, to preserve the overall appearance of the house."

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