The Window Tax – indirect taxes, tax avoidance, and architecture

Many homes with bricked-up windows represent integral icons in British towns and cities. Why so? In this podcast, we dive back into history to discover the Window Tax, which was in effect for more than 150 years up until 1851. We shall explore why such a tax came about; what its intended and unintended consequences were, and what role it had in revenue collection for the Crown, alongside other indirect taxes. Finally, we shall take a look at how tax avoidance behavior has left a permanent and observable mark on architecture across the world. This is a story of incredible ingenuity on the part of Englishmen in asserting their liberties against parliament by exploiting loopholes in legislation to free themselves from the burdens of taxation.


Image: Andy Billman, June 2021, retrieved from

Podcast jingles: © Ladislav Weyrostek |


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