|Trafalgar Square during the Poll Tax riots of 1990.|
In 1835 all of the following items were taxed.
Coffee, tea, soap, French rum and silk.
Which item earned the most for the exchequer and which the least?
[Answers at the end of this blog post.]
There have been many and various taxes over time. The Poll Tax, instituted by Margaret Thatcher in 1990, was actually a revival of an unsuccessful tax from the 1690’s, which was abandoned in 1698 after a Peasants’ Revolt. Other unpopular 17th century taxes, which Mrs Thatcher wisely decided against reviving, were a hearth or chimney tax (2 shillings per hearth) and a window tax (A tax per window– this tax was only abolished in 1851)
|A typical Georgian building with a window bricked up to avoid tax.|
|There was tax to be paid for painting your coat-of-arms on your carriage.|
|A Gillray cartoon referring to William Pitt's policy on Income Tax|
|Gorgeous silk gowns like this, generated less tax income than soap!|
In a way it’s heartening to see soap holding it’s own…at least that means somebody was buying it!