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Back in the middle ages, a heated home was a luxury that the majority did not have. Most people huddled around an open hearth in the center of the room for warmth, over which they also cooked their meals, while smoke filled their houses and their lungs. Chimneys were a new thing then, and belonged only to the most princely of dwellings. So it was natural for those who had them to use chimneys as a demonstration of wealth and power.

Early chimneys appeared only on large manor houses, and during the Tudor period it became fashionable to have ornate brick chimneys and stacks. There is perhaps no better example of this than Hampton Court Palace situated on the outskirts of London.

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Photo credit: Jen/Flickr

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