7 Meneage Street Window

Social History

7 Meneage Street Window

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This window, dating back perhaps to the English Civil War, is now part of the Museum’s Victorian kitchen display. It came to light in the late 1990s when number 7 Meneage Street, now a shop, was converted from a bakery into a building society. Windows were taxed between 1696 and 1851, and only the rich could afford generous apertures in their houses. This one consists of many small panes, each edged with lead strip, twisted round the glazing bars to hold it in place. This system of fixing meant that an owner moving house could easily take their window panes with them. Glass was expensive then and itself later became subject to tax from 1746 until 1845. The medical profession at the time viewed the charges as an ‘absurd impost on light’, with health implications for the poor who were deprived of it.