The History of Doors

Mumford and Wood

Striking entrance doors, designed for listed properties and those of significant heritage importance, play an important role in our product ranges. Essentially they are designed to aesthetically suite and coordinate with sash and casement windows, and a variety of other made-to-order doors including French and balcony doorsets, replicating the very finest detail.

For historical reasons it is crucial that the renovation of an original door and the protection of its fabric must always be the first priority but when this option is no longer practical a fine replacement must be sought. “Glazed doors made an entrance in the late 17th century and featured handsome and heavy timber glazing bars; these became thinner with more refined mouldings as the 18th century progressed,” says architectural historian Charles Brooking. “When replacing an entrance door it is important to take great care to copy the details of the original correctly and maintain the integrity of the design. This is true of the mouldings and proportions which lend the subtle elegance and aesthetic delight associated with 18th and 19th century joinery.”

As a specialist manufacturer of made-to-order timber windows and doors our three product ranges are designed to meet varying requirements of planning procedure with the single glazed Heritage™ collection meeting the stringent demands of listed consent. Designs have been historically researched and specific counsel taken from Charles Brooking to meet Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Authentic profiles and glazing bars include 18mm Victorian lamb’s tongue, Georgian and Grecian ovolo, square ovolo, hollow reed and wider glazing profiles with 40mm Queen Anne ovolo. Traditionally made using mortice and tenon joints for maximum strength and stability every Heritage™ glazed entrance door is a substantial 57mm thick, and hung with a 68mm frame.

“Importantly we use Siberian larch in our manufacturing process which crucially forms the back bone of our products,” says Owen Dare. “It is the most naturally durable timber on the planet.” Due to the extreme location of these forests growth is very slow and the timber produced has exceptionally tight growth rings. “It is the closeness of these rings that results in an especially dense material which is naturally durable and able to withstand the most testing climatic conditions.”

Of note is that the Siberian larch used by Mumford & Wood has a density of more than 600kg/m³ and needs no further treatment to resist fungal or insect decay. By comparison the European redwood used by many manufacturers has a lower density of 510kg/m³ which is classified as non-durable and must be treated with a preservative to achieve longevity in a process that has environmental implications. All the timber used by Mumford & Wood is 100% FSC certificated and sustainably sourced.
Real Timber Doors
“If a hardwood option is required then we use a Grandis timber from South America,” advises Dare. “Grandis has a density of more than 600kg/m³, much the same as Siberian larch, which makes it a good choice over other hardwoods from Africa. These have become difficult to source as they are now listed and have become endangered.”

The timber is then engineered which is a technically advanced approach to the use of wood in modern day applications. In this process layers of wood are laid with the grain in opposing directions to allow the timber to move whist being countered by the grain of neighbouring sections creating an exceptionally strong, robust and stable material that makes ‘warp, twist and stick’ much less likely. Independent research identifies doors and windows manufactured by the company have an expected life of 65 years or more.

“Working closely with Mumford & Wood it is our common aim to introduce an extended range of period entrance doors that will match in longevity to that of period originals,” comments Brooking, “many of which have lasted 300 years and longer. Architectural integrity is of great importance in replicating beautiful entrance doors some of which are enhanced with decorative glass and leaded lights.”

Single glazed Heritage™ entrance doors feature traditional hand-faced external putty and 4mm float glass. There is also the option to specify Crown or Victorian glass to achieve the authentic and much loved imperfections of period glass.

“While we cannot compare the U-values of a single glazed product with that of the slim double glazed Classic™ range, or even our award winning Conservation™ products,” says Dare, “the installation of a new Heritage™ entrance door will enhance the authenticity of the property and, of course, timber will always improve thermal performance and security. If we incorporate slim double glazing this process will reduce the cost and consumption of energy to heat your home, will help towards lower CO₂ emissions and a more sustainable carbon footprint – which is essential for our planet.”

Glazed entrance doors in the Classic™ range feature an alternative slim panel glazing system that effectively reduces sight lines. The aesthetics are more in keeping with period style and are ideal for replacement in heritage projects and conservation areas where planning restrictions may permit the use of double glazing. These made-to-order slim glazed products are available with a choice of profiles and feature individual 12-14mm slim profile units with true bars and a traditional external putty faced finish. Again a choice of glass to achieve the appearance of hand-blown glass is also available and for added security laminated panes can be used.

In period-style new builds and extensions, a double glazed entrance door from the Conservation™ range will achieve the highest levels of thermal and acoustic performance with security that is Secured by Design accredited, to meet PAS 24 accreditation, with multi-point locking systems.

The finishing touches

Glazed side panels and fanlight grilles complete the period aesthetic while adding elegance, height and authenticity to your chosen entrance door design and at the same time will improve natural light ingress into the building.

Decorative fanlight grilles can be designed and manufactured in countless designs while Egg-and-Dart, Gothic, Sunray, Diamond and Fish Tail remain the most popular in the Mumford & Wood collections. “Early examples were made from several materials including wood, wrought iron and bronze lead, cast iron, zinc and timber embellished with Jeso. Fanlights were a major feature of 18th and 19th century buildings and a correct understanding of their construction and detailing is vital,” says Brooking. “They quickly became widespread as a decorative feature and could be found in grand town houses down to the more humble country cottage.”
Timber Entrance Doors
Ironmongery is available from a wide selection of tactile designs and smart finishes to suite with windows and other doors in each range. “Our sash windows are finished with a discreetly positioned signature logo on sash catches and inside casement frames as a guarantee of the finest quality and craftsmanship.”

All products are delivered to site with three coats of high quality water-based, micro-porous paint or stain. The dual colour option is proving popular, especially the combination of RAL 9003 signal white externally with a beautiful heritage shade internally. “We also offer an annual Complete Care service which means we take responsibility for the maintenance of your products, and our new paint range can be colour-matched to the original order – all designed to allow you to get on with the important things in life.” Customers are welcome to visit our state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Essex, or to meet by appointment at The Building Centre, London WC1.

For more detailed advice on period entrance doors call Owen Dare or make reference to The Brooking National Collection:


The Conservation™ Range of Timber Windows & Doors


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