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Security Requirements For Your Wooden Doors

wooden front door

Recently I have attended quite a few residential properties as a locksmith which still have wooden doors on them, as opposed to upvc or composite ones. A common theme with many of them is the lack of or inadequate security measures in place. Not only does this make you more vulnerable to a break in but it may also mean that your insurance company may not pay out in the event of a burglary. Many customers are surprised and shocked at how quickly and easily a locksmith is able to gain entry to their home when they are locked out particularly when only a ‘Yale’ type lock is installed.

The following is a typical set of requirements that a home insurance company may request in order for your home to be covered. It is important to note that some higher level policies may require extra measures but for standard home insurance the following is usually the rule. It is always advised to check your policy documents thoroughly.

  • A discount is usually allowed if your home is protected to the required standard
  • Your property may not be covered unless the required security measures are operational whilst the property is left un attended.


  • Must be fitted with a mortice deadlock/sash-lock with at least 5 levers or is fitted with a lock conforming to BS3621 1998 or higher (see end of article for examples)


  • Must be fitted with 2 key operated security bolts/rack bolts at the top and the bottom of the final closing door and if the door is not rebated i.e one door must close before the other, this must be done to both doors.
  • The bolts must be fitted vertically so as to enter the top and the bottom of the door frame.


Mortice locks and night latches are the two main type of lock that you will need to be concerned about on your single door final exit. These two locks are commonly refered to as Chubb locks and Yale locks respectively although these are actually just brand names.

A lock conforming to BS3621 will have the ‘Kitemark’ logo stamped on to the lock or packaging

BS3621 lock

2 Types of Mortice Lock are available and acceptable if conforming to BS3621

  • Mortice Sash Lock. This type of mortice lock will have a bolt and a latch and will be operated with a lever type door handle.
  • Mortice Dead Lock. Similar to a Sash Lock but with just a bolt and no lever handles required.

Night latches or ‘Yale’ type locks are also acceptable but again only if conforming to BS3621. It is important to note that many night latches are available but only a small amount are British Standard so make sure it shows the kite mark logo.

Bolts for French or Double Doors

  • Surface mounted bolt
Surface Mounted Multi Purpose Bolt
  • Rack Bolt

It Is important to remember that these bolts should be fitted with the bolt going into the frame.

Although standard requirements for most insurance companies please always remember to check your individual policy documents

A History of Locks

early lock

From the very beginning of modern civilization, we as humans have always had the need to keep possessions and things we hold to value safe, therefore for just as long we have been developing ways in which to keep these items safe. In the earliest of days this was done by intricately tying ropes into knots to keep things hidden away and safe. But as the time went on new technologies were developed, true locks made from wood and metal started being used across the world.

The earliest known lock and key device was discovered in the ruins of Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria. Locks such as this were later developed into the Egyptian wooden pin lock, which consisted of a bolt, door fixture or attachment, and key. When the key was inserted, pins within the fixture were lifted out of drilled holes within the bolt, allowing it to move. When the key was removed, the pins fell part-way into the bolt, preventing movement.

History of mechanical locks started over 6 thousand years ago in Ancient Egypt, where locksmith first managed to create simple but effective pin tumbler lock that was made entirely from wood. It consisted of the wooden post that was affixed to the door, and a horizontal bolt that slid into the post. This bolt had set of openings which were filled with pins. Specially designed large and heavy wooden key was shaped like modern toothbrush with pegs that corresponded to the holes and pins in the lock. This key could be inserted into opening and lifted, which would move the pins and allow security bolt to be moved.

early lock

It wasn’t until the Roman Empire that locks really began to shine. Building on Greek designs for locks the Romans introduced metal to lock construction making them far stronger and able to protect valuables. The Romans were also able to shrink locks and keys making the key far easier to keep close. Many wealthy Romans use to wear keys as jewellery as a sign of their affluence. During this time wards were also developed, ensuring that only correct key with correct shape of projections can push corresponding pins before lock could rotate and throw the bolt.

After the fall of the Roman empire the development of locks seemingly ground to a holt, there just wasn’t the funds or technology available for advancement. 

It was in 1778 when the next advancements in locksmithing came about. Robert Barron, with the help of technological advancements managed to design and create the first double acting tumbler lever lock.His double acting lever lock required the lever to be lifted to a certain height by having a slot cut in the lever, so lifting the lever too far was as bad as not lifting the lever far enough, the principles behind this lock still remain today. In 1784 this lock was improved on by Joseph Bramah from Barnsley who designed a lock that remained unpickable for 67 years.

1818 saw the emergence of Jerimiah Chubb who designed the Chubb detector lock. A Chubb detector lock was a type of lever lock that contained a re locker, which would jam the lock up if unauthorised attempts to gain access were made. Only inserting the original key would re set the lock. Chubb still remains a household name today.

chubb detector lock
Chubb Detector Lock

The final notable advancement in locking technology came with Linus Yale in1848 who developed the first pin tumbler lock.This lock design used pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the correct key. His son then slightly built on this  inventing and patenting a smaller flat key with serrated edges as well as pins of varying lengths within the lock itself, this design remains the basic principle for pin tumbler locks today.  

yale lock
Yale Pin Tumbler Lock

Today, majority of world’s locks are based on the inventions of these engineers, with only a small portion using advanced techniques such as magnetic keys and anti-pick technology included in the pins or levers of locks.

A Not So Romantic History of Love Locks

A love lock or love padlock is a padlock that couples in love, most traditional lock to a bridge, as a declaration of their love. Typically the locks are engraved with the initials of the lovers, the lock is then attached to the railings of the chosen bridge and the key thrown in to the water below to symbolize unbreakable love.

Since the 2000s, love locks have been a prominent feature at many bridges worldwide the most famous is a bridge in Paris, The Pond des Arts, but more about that later.

bridge showing love locks

So where did this seemingly ultimate gesture of romance come come from and is all as it seems?

The history of Love Locks dates back to a small town in Serbia over 100 years ago.

It was1914 and Europe was on the verge of war. In the small town Of Vrnjacka Banja there lived a boy named Relja. Relja was on officer in the Serbian army and was facing imminent deployment to fight on the front lines of WW1. Like so many others Relja was young and in love. He had recently fallen for a local school misstress named Nada and the couple were inseperable and soon became engaged. However the course of true love never did run smooth. On the 28th July 1914, one month to the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot dead by a Serbian national, Austria declared war on Serbia. Relja was forced to say goodbye to his betrothed and sent to defend his country.

Nada was heartbroken, but she believed in her heart of hearts that Relja would survive the war and they could continue from where they left off.

This is however where this tale of true love in the face of adversity comes to abrupt and not so romantic end. Relja went to war in Greece, where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu, swiftly breaking of his engagement to Nada never to return to Serbia. Nada was heartbroken, and she fell into a grief that she never recovered from. The schoolmistress died young and alone, of a broken heart, another tragic ending to a story of young love

Word soon spread of the betrayal and the other girls in town were understandably perturbed by this turn of events, and they quickly moved to ensure their own romantic futures. The women of Vrnjačka Banja went into a panicked frenzy buying padlock after padlock, quickly writing their names and those of their betrothed on the locks before attaching them to the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet. The keys were hurled into the river, ensuring a life of fidelity.

The story of Nada and Relja was largely forgotten until Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic brought it back to life in her poem, Molitva za ljubav (Prayer for Love). This time the story caught fire and young lovers across town started attaching padlocks to what soon became the Most Ljubavi, or ‘Bridge of Love’. Most Ljubavi is a pedestrian bridge in Vrnjacka Banja and it is known as the earliest mention of the love padlocks tradition, where padlocks are left on the bridge railing by couples as sign of their everlasting love.It is one of the famous landmarks of Vrnjačka Banja, and it is the best known among the town’s 15 bridges.

Towns all over the world started copying the tradition, but places like Paris, Barcelona and the rest would eventually be forced to cull the locks in order to preserve the bridges, starting the process all over again. South Serbia is a land of superstition, however, and the locks have never been removed from the Bridge of Love. There are more than 15 bridges in Vrnjačka Banja, but you can’t mistake the one that has captured the hearts of men and women across the globe.

locks been removed from bridge

In 2015 Paris city officials started to remove padlocks symbolically fastened to one of the French capital’s main bridges by loved-up couples. Fastening love locks on to the Pont des Arts before throwing the key into the River Seine beneath had become a massive tourist tradition in recent years. However these bridges were not designed to take the weight of so many locks. The fastening of love locks had become such a trend that close to 1 million locks weighing in at 45 tonnes had been attached to the bridge and it had started to collapse in parts. The Pont de l’Archeveche, near the Notre Dame cathedral, is also having locks removed from its side.