THE BROOKING NATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL MUSEUM

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Cut and shut (above) this early example of a cut-glass mortice knob has its fixing screw in the centre of the doorknob, threaded into the end of the spindle. From a high status room in Bowood House, Wiltshire, circa 1760’s-70’s. Demolished 1955.

Early closing (right) a good example of a late 17th century sectional brass mortice knob. A rare survival from a house in Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, it is one of the earliest forms of doorknob design.

The locksmith’s view (below) inside the mechanism of a high-quality brass rimlock from the early 18th century, Compton Verney, Warwickshire.

The facts of fittings

The evolution of window and door ironmongery and fittings is fully represented in The Collection, explained from its wrought-iron beginnings to the stylised Bakelite examples of the 1930’s and on to the streamlined aluminium suites of the 1950’s and 60’s.

The transition from wrought iron to brass, the complex evolution of locks, mortice handles, lock spindles, hinges and bolts are all illustrated with thousands of examples. The fascinating evolution of door-knockers and letterplates can be appreciated by examining the many fine examples in The Collection. Window ironmongery is charted from the 16th century to the 1960’s, highlighting useful dating methods such as styles and sash pulley types and the ingenious engineering approaches adopted.

This fine example of a stylised Arts and Crafts thumb-latch (left) is made of malleable iron. It came from a large Arts and Crafts villa built in 1905 in Queens Drive, Oxshott, Surrey.

Fifties style III (right) aluminium lever handle from director’s office, Kenwood offices, Old Woking, Surrey, built circa 1957. Aluminium, easily wrought into simple, clean designs, became a popular material for door furniture in the 1950’s, superseding pre-war materials such as brass, wood and Bakelite.  

Cast iron ring pattern door knocker (above), circa 1825, from a small artisan double villa in North Place, Guildford. Acquired 1972.           

Penny plus (below) postal knocker with strong Arts and Crafts influence, from a large 1900s villa in Sunningdale, Berks. The design combined knocker and letterplate in one unit, and early examples appeared after the introduction of the Penny Post in 1840.

Shutter knob and catch (right) from India Buildings, Cutler Street, City of London. Built by the East India Company, 1796.  

Cast iron, lion’s mask doorknocker (right).  A late use of this design, dating from c.1855, Godalming, Surrey.

Two late nineteenth century cast iron letter plates (below)  and a postal handle.

Fifties style I (below ) this streamlined aluminium grip handle design, circa 1956, is from an office conversion, Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square, London. Acquired 1987.

Fifties style II (left) circa 1957 saleboard display of plastic cupboard handles from a hardware shop in Claygate, Surrey.                       

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