070612.Bathwick, Turning a Blind Eye to the Taxman

June 12, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bathwick, doorways, Overcast, somerset, Window | 11 Comments

Symmetry is important, yes, but taxes are costly. [More info soon to come.]


What’s interesting between these two blind windows on the same building is that both were originally designed to be filled with ashlar and to represent sash windows. However, the photo on the top, has glazing bars, while the one below only has them painted on! The top photo’s bay faces the corner facing the park.

The hexagonal Sydney Gardens in Bathwick is faced on its west side by two streets called Sydney Place. Between the two leads to Great Pulteney St. The northern Sydney Place was designed by Thomas Baldwin in 1792 and the southern street was designed by John Pinch the Elder in 1808. Both were Surveyors to the Pulteney Estate, respectively. At any rate, these are details of the two townhouses at each end of the row. The first six photos are from 93 SP on the corner of Sydney Place and Tourville Street with all of these blind windows, the porch above the ground floor is Victorian. During the Georgian period, these townhouses would have been rented out for the season and in fact Queen Charlotte stayed at 93 Sydeny Place.


Below: These last two photos are from the corner of Darlington and Sydney Place at 103 Sydney Place. It’s an elaborate porch for a very visible corner. 07011.04.SO.Bathwick07011.05.SO.Bathwick


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  1. A clever photo reveals the difference. I like it. Also, years ago when we bought our home, the models all showed grills in the glass or individual panes of glass which was the desired window feature.

    However, on closer examination, the cheaper models used white tape to depict panels of wood with glass inside.

    I have 1 baby raccoon today and a pile of poop!
    Brookville Daily Photo

  2. Good eye. I love these close up photos and your description of the world around you.

  3. So, wait, why’d they put in all these blind windows? Didn’t anybody want any light at all on the ground floor?

  4. You have thoroughly discussed the differences in the painted windows but do these really have no glass and it’s stone that is painted (ashlar is stone?)? Why would they do that on the corner of a townhouse–especially the corner opposite a park? And to have a bay with no windows! Truly odd. Do you know why?

  5. Oh, ok. I’ll add that in a second. I believe it has to do with the Window Tax.
    Blind windows were for symmetry and to deflect additional taxes.

  6. I really like this architecture, thanks for sharing.

  7. Window tax – precursor to council tax or income tax. More windows more tax…so they blocked them up with ashlar (local imestone) to save tax or they did tricks like painting pretend windows to preserve the architectural symmetry. Heard of the term “daylight robbery”? Believed to stem from this tax.

  8. Thanks, Steve!

  9. such a wealth of knowledge young sir, but when do we get to see the pics of you in your tights?

  10. Oh- and another thing- did you just walk into someone’s foyer without permission?

  11. hmm?

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