In Melbourne recently, I heard a story about the origins of the term daylight robbery. During the 17th and 18th centuries in Britain, households were taxed based on the number of windows their house contained. As richer people were more likely to live in larger houses with a greater number of windows, it was introduced as an early method of progressive taxation. In times past, it was seen as an invasion of privacy for income to be declared.
To reduce their tax, some families embarked on enclosing some of their windows by bricking or sealing over some of the window spaces (such as the photographed examples in Derbyshire). Protesters claimed it the technique to be a tax on daylight; hence daylight robbery.
So next time you protest at an airline’s surcharges or hotel’s room rate, you are probably utilising a term borne of an old tax system.