Victorian doors – Victorian Front Doors
Further to our article “The Doors of the Monarchs “ what specific criteria define a Victorian door.
Victorian architecture, so stylish, so emotive, conjuring up images of times gone by, of high fashion , gas street lamps shining out over cobble streets where horse drawn carriages were the transport of the day. A period of history which not only gave rise to so many styles of architecture, but also fundamental changes to the industrial and commercial development of the country.
The Victorian era of architecture in the UK coincided with the reign of the Queen Victoria and lasted from 1837 – 1901, a time during which the UK enjoyed a period of political stability and prosperity encompassing the Second Industrial Revolution, which occurred during the transition years between 1840 and 1870, a period when technological and economic progress gained momentum with the increasing adoption of steam-powered boats, ships and railways, the large scale manufacture of machine tools and the increasing use of steam powered factories.
All of these developments including the availability of new materials for use as building components, notably cast iron and steel, allowed the creative minds of British Architects to flourish. However, many elements of what is typically termed “Victorian” architecture did not become popular until later in Victoria’s reign and the styles often included interpretations and revivals of historic styles mixed with the introduction of Middle East and Asian influences,
A period rich in styles of architecture, many of which were developed concurrently giving an overlap and blurring of styles, the majority of which are still evident in the streets of any major city today.
The Jacobethan’ (1830-1870) suited to large houses, incorporating towering chimneys, mullioned windows and four pointed arched front door way
The Neo Renaissance Greek and Italian and Gothic revivals (1840-90) with towers and turrets and asymmetrical designs,. Large bay windows – often of two or three stories with heavily ornate surrounds – became a dominant feature of the facade after 1850.The bay window contributed to the picturesque quality of the front but from the inside it offered more space and light – and better views.
The Queen Anne (1870-1910) with a sweep of steps leading to a carved stone door-case, rows of painted sash windows in boxes set flush with the brickwork, stone quoins emphasizing corners and a central triangular pediment set against a hipped roof with dormers
There were many subdivisions of the styles until during 1880-1910 the various styles gave life to the British Arts & Crafts movement
The use of carved and panelled doors were still the norm at the start of the Victorian era with dark green being the preferred door colour.
During the Victorian era there were a number of key events that shaped the design of doors, notably
- The halving of the window tax in 1832 and its repeal altogether in 1851, encouraged the use of more windows in both number and size. This political change coincided with changes in the method of the production of glass the 1834 – “Improved Cylinder Sheet”, based on a process of partial re-melting of cut glass cylinder and the introduction of Rolled Plate glass in 1847 made glass for building purposes considerably more accessible and consequently this era saw the introduction of more glazing in both the Victorian door and its surround panels.
- The introduction of the letterbox – during 1849 the British Post Office introduced measures where every home should have a letterbox or mail slot which gave rise to the letterbox that we now take for granted. The requirement for better and more extravagant door hardware ensured that the Foundry catalogues were filled with examples of door knockers and knobs and from the 1840s, letterboxes/ mail slots.
- A move away from cast iron to cast bronze or ceramic door handles and door knockers.
- The Victorians were also responsible for the introduction of poles and curtains fixed to the rear of the doors to reduce draughts.
The introduction of glazed panels and letter plates in doors was a fundamental change in style and gave rise to many of the door patterns that continue to be popular to today.
If you should choose to replace your front door with a new Victorian style door there is now an alternative to the solid timber original and this comes in the shape of a composite door as supplied by Global Door.
The benefit of choosing a composite door over a timber door is that the solid thermally insulated polyurethane foam core slab and similarly the 2mm through coloured GRP cladding can be cut and moulded during the construction process to mimic the design of all of the classic pattern doors.
Victorian doors purchased from Global door are manufactured to exacting factory standards and must comply with stringent quality control criteria. manufactured to a thickness of 44mm ensures a strength and durability the equivalent of any timber door and every door comes with appropriate “third party” accreditations to both “Secured by design” and PAS 23&24 – so they will look and perform as well as any original Victorian door.