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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

April A-Z: Knockers

Following on somewhat from my iron post the other day, door knockers seemed a suitable topic for today. The tradition of having a knocker was clearly once simply a practical matter of enabling someone's arrival at your door to be heard easily. The decorative heads, animals and symbols are obviously a development that allowed people to combine a protective charm with a practical item.

The lion head knocker is a feature of 10 Downing St and has therefore come to be associated with status and power, but lions, gargoyles and fabulous creatures would once have been intended to repel evil spirits and witches. The fact they were frequently made of iron didn't hurt, either.

With the advent of electricity and doorbells that play (ahem) 'lovely' tunes, knockers were perhaps less popular for a while. But now that cheesy doorbells are less in vogue, knockers are enjoying something of a revival, as I discovered while searching for images for this post! Themed and quirky door knockers are fairly easy to find: various animal and character heads, 'amusing' anatomical designs (not sure who wants male genitalia displayed on their front door really, but there y'go...) and shapes such as pine cones (?), horseshoes (for luck of course) and garden trowels. Lovely - there's a knocker for everyone.


  1. Hello. This made me smile because knockers is a slang word here in the states for breasts. We also do have door knockers, but we call them doorknobs. Nice to "meet" you thru the a-z challenge.

  2. My first thought was the same as Karen's above. :O
    I have a dragonfly knocker on my door but few people use it. It looks nice though.
    Found your blog via the A-Z challenge. Following You! Come on over and say "hi".
    Blue Velvet Vincent

  3. Ooooooh, those kind of knockers. I see. I don't think we've ever had one on our door. Maybe I should get one of those huge ones that boom and echo when used.

  4. The slang is the same in the UK, although it feels a bit old-fashioned now, a bit 'Carry On', if you know what I mean.

    To me, a doorknob would be a round door handle that you open/close the door with, rather than a doorknocker.

    Thanks for visiting!


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