The name plantation shutters originated from the cotton plantations in the south of America, however, their history begins much earlier than this.
Why have plantation shutters?
Window coverings have predominantly been used to resolve the issues of light control, ventilation, privacy and security. There is a range of other benefits a shutter can offer, however, today issues of insulation, dust reduction and durability, as well as their classic style, have led to their more recent popularity.
Where did they come from?
The first versions were probably made from marble in Greece. By the time they spread further into Europe wood was being used, which allowed the introduction of a movable louvre due to being lighter in weight.
In medieval times solid shutter panels were used for providing protection from the weather and security, and many of our European neighbours have used them since then to retain or reduce heat in their homes.
The colonisation of America’s by European’s led to the introduction of plantation shutters that often had larger louvers, was white, and was given this name as they were commonly found in the mansions on the cotton or sugar plantations in the South. While the narrower louvered versions are said to be influenced by English colonisation, the term plantation shutter has endured and many companies use this description.
The Victorians were fond of boxed shutter style panels, which were solid and folded back into a box at each side of the window when not in use. The shaker style solid wooden shutter suits this style of window, and of course will provide insulating properties to reduce heat loss and noise pollution.
The original ‘Peeping Tom’ was said to have been caught peeping through a shutter at Lady Godiva, who rode naked through the streets as a protest, although the other townsfolk averted their eyes.
It is also said that Louis XIV used them so that he could continue to view the ladies of his court bathing in the garden, but prevent the Versailles palace guards from being distracted from their duties!
Plantation shutters today
There has been a re-emergence of this type of window covering in the last two decades in the UK. The popularity is in part due to the timeless style, but also due to durability and low maintenance which provides an ideal solution to light control, air movement, security and privacy for the home. In addition, they can easily be cleaned to eliminate dust. Their insulating properties also make them a good investment, as they can help to keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer, and louvers can also be angled to prevent sunlight damaging furniture.
Today Sam’s knowledge has been invaluable in selecting quality products that are simple to install, yet an elegant investment that can be added to any style of home. Sam shares his skills as a cabinet and shutter maker with his DIY shutter customers as he advises personally, and still offers a fitted shutter service for plantation shutters in a wide area in and around London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.
For more information on plantation shutters please visit our website opennshut.