Thursday, 6 May 2010

Windows & taxes

The evening sunshine on the south face of Salts Mill, Saltaire makes the honey-coloured stone really glow.

If you look closely, on the left you can see some scaffolding - proof that maintenance work and development of the building continues even now. Keeping such a huge building in good order must be a never-ending task.
I wonder if anyone has ever counted the number of windows it has? And who cleans them all?

Salts Mill was opened in 1853. Was it pure coincidence that the Window Tax in England was repealed in 1851? The Window Tax was introduced by William III in 1696 (apparently under the 'Act of Making Good the Deficiency of the Clipped Money' - which must be the most fun title for an Act of Parliament ever dreamed up!) It was charged according to the number of windows your house had. There are still properties in some areas where you can see the bricked-up windows that were a way of avoiding the tax. I don't think the tax was imposed upon buildings other than dwellings - but I suppose by 1853 windows would have become very desirable again. I think the real reason for all the windows in the Mill was that the worsted-making processes demanded very good light. The quality of the light is very noticeable inside the building.

And, whilst this has
largely been an 'election-free' blog, today is Polling Day, when things in UK might change - for better or worse. Though as Alan said recently on his brilliant 'News from Nowhere': "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose". Whoever leads the country, I reckon they might need another 'Act of Making Good the Deficiency of the Clipped Money'!

11 comments:

  1. Indeed they will and I strongly suspect that another window tax is on the way. Maybe a windows tax(*) this time around. Thanks for your kind words.
    (*) Windows Tax : a tax on copies of Microsoft Windows (see also Apple Tax)

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  2. I've heard about that window tax before, silly idea. That is a great building...what do they use it for now?

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  3. When I see the number of windows, I think about two things: the taxes probably paid well, and poor one who had to wash them!! Ü

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  4. I suppose a window tax was a bit like a luxury tax -- thought why sunlight should be regarded as a luxury is a conundrum.

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  5. The light is lovely in this shot!

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  6. Nice composition and colour. And your closing sentence will certainly be proven true after the post-election emergency budget!

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  7. Wonder if the window tax was a precursor to a view tax? We are lucky not to have that here, but I've heard of places that do. That sure is a handsome old mill building. Our old mills here have lots of windows too. ~Lili

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  8. Stunning color contrast. The sunlight certainly does accent the bricks.

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  9. I love the colours in that picture, reminds me of Tuscany

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  10. Diane, the mill now houses shops, restaurants, a gallery, the largest collection of David Hockney prints in the world and also Pace microelectronics factory. Browse my blog - there are lots of pics iside the mill.

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  11. It is a beautiful shot of a great looking building. The sun turns it into a great color.

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