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Glass Tax and Brick Windows
We hired "The Big Bus" to take us about London on the second day. This turned out to be a good decision, as the tour guides were both personable and knowledgeable. On our first few excursions, however, I didn't wear a coat (well, my internal heater works just fine, thank you), leading the young tour guide to say: "I remember you. You're the American with no coat. You look perfectly ridiculous." I'm usually immune to such comments - but this time, I wore my coat for the rest of the European vacation.
One young lady pointed out the many bricked-over windows in a residential section, and said it resulted from a punative tax on glass imposed in the past. Londoners who could not afford the tax simply smashed the glass and replaced it with brick.