Our tour guide had pointed out a few buildings where you could see there were spaces where windows used to be but aren't anymore. He joyfully told us England blames America for it and that he wasn't going to explain why.
For the rest of the trip he continued to point to bricked up windows and asking us "who do we blame?" And we all laughed and chanted "America!" ... even the Americans.
In the end he finally told us the story. Apparently when America declared Independence, it put Great Britain in a financial bind. In order to collect more money, a new property tax was implemented that was based on how many windows your building had. And you paid a significantly higher tax on any windows above 10. Some removed windows and bricked them over in order to avoid paying the extra tax. Others lost their windows because if you were unable to pay your taxes.. they would come and smash out your "surplus" windows.
And that, is why they blame America.
Today, even if you wanted to put a window back in, you can't necessarily just do it. A lot of the building form part of protected UNESCO world heritage sites and are required to be left exactly as they are.Read more