Until the late 1970s, no new houses on the Isle of Wight were built with double glazing — it was not the normal way of building.

Windows were becoming larger in the 1970s as more light was appreciated by the owners.

The government suddenly woke up to the realisation that heat was being lost through these large windows, and regulations were brought in to limit the size of windows.

Double glazing firms proliferated. Secondary double glazing became a good way to cut heating bills in older houses. New properties from the 1980s generally had double glazed windows fitted as standard.

But what of the old Victorian or Georgian houses? How did they cope with heating loss? Glass production had increased and windows were large in the well to do house.

The answer was in the solid wooden shutter to close over the windows internally.

These shutters looked decorative, and were entirely functional.

Talk to heating experts today, and they will tell you that thick wooden solid shutters are the best way to insulate the windows in your home. Add thick curtains as well and your house will be snug.

Most old shutters hinged concertina-wise across the windows, as in the recently restored window shutters of Millfield House, Ryde.

Another design, not seen so often, were shutters that were concealed in slots in the walls below the windows, and could then be pulled up on rope sashes to cover the windows.

This type can be seen in the windows of the Queen’s entrance lodge to Osborne House, and are still in use today.

Those shutters built into the main rooms at Osborne House had yet another use. The shutters were designed to slide into the walls at each side of the window during the day. At night, they were rolled closed for insulation.

Each side facing into the room was then seen to be entirely coated with a mirror. These mirrors reflected every candle in the room - several times as there were mirrors covering every closed window in each wall.

It was a very clever way of creating much greater light from each candle - of which there were many in the Queen’s sitting room.

Often old houses with Grade I or II-listed status still have their original solid shutters, securely glued to the window embrasures with years of additional paint freezing their hinges.

Rather than removing the original windows to install some form of double-glazed unit, either 'Conservation Quality' of nasty plastic, or new carefully produced wooden windows, why not open up those old wooden shutters and keep the original windows?

It can be done very successfully — and will help keep the heating bills down this winter!

Thinking of climate change, would it not be a good idea to promote the humble solid wooden shutter in more houses?

Soft wood from renewable forests should be used, not plastic from fossil fuel.

Heating loss can be minimised. Heating bills would drop. The options are there already!