Unraveling the Mystery: Why are English Door Knobs So High?


Everyday objects often bear the marks of historical influence and cultural norms, which makes them more intriguing than you might first perceive. In England, one such peculiar element that catches the attention of many is the high placement of door knobs. It's not uncommon to hear visitors ask, "Why are English door knobs so high?" Delve into this article to unlock the answers and explore this architectural quirk in depth.

Why are English Door Knobs So High: The Crux of the Matter

The placement of door knobs in English homes has long been a subject of fascination. While there are no hard-and-fast rules, it's widely observed that English door knobs sit higher than those in many other countries. Let's dig into the meat of the matter and find out why this is so.

Historical Impetus

High Doorknobs: A Nod to the Past?

Our journey begins in the historical context, where high door knobs might be traced back to the era of Victorian England. During this period, doors were significantly larger than today's standard doors. The substantial size made the knob placement relatively higher to achieve a balanced look and functionality.

Architecture of the Period

Victorian Ingenuity and Aesthetics

Victorian architecture, well known for its attention to detail and grandiosity, may provide another reason for the high placement of door knobs. High knobs on tall doors maintained a pleasing aesthetic symmetry, creating a visually pleasing element in the overall design.

Social Hierarchies and Door Knobs

The high door knobs could also have been a subtle reflection of the social hierarchies prevalent in Victorian England. Having door knobs placed high meant that children and shorter individuals would struggle to reach them, thus reinforcing the dominance of the taller, adult members of society.

Practical Reasons Behind High Door Knobs

Ease of Use and Functionality

Surprisingly, the high placement of door knobs can actually facilitate easier opening and closing of doors. As the knob is closer to the door's edge, less force is required to swing the door. This higher placement thus couples aesthetic considerations with practical functionality.

The Influence of Tradition and Continuity

Tradition: The Unseen Hand in Door Design

Tradition plays a significant role in many aspects of English life, including architectural details such as door knob placement. The high knob design has persisted due to a deep-seated love for historical styles and a desire to maintain continuity with the past.

Preservation of Architectural Heritage

In England, preserving architectural heritage is considered important. Consequently, many older buildings maintain their original doors with high knobs, further contributing to this characteristic feature.

English Door Knobs: A Symbol of Quirky Charm

Character and Personality in Details

The high door knobs have come to be seen as a charming quirk of English homes, lending them a distinctive character and personality. For many, they serve as a conversation starter, adding to the intrigue and mystique of English architecture.


1. Are all door knobs in England placed high?

Not all door knobs in England are placed high. It largely depends on the age and style of the building, though it is a common feature in older properties.

2. Do high door knobs serve a practical purpose?

Yes, high door knobs can make a door easier to operate as they are closer to the door's edge, reducing the force needed to open or close it.

3. Are high door knobs unique to England?

While high door knobs are a notable feature in England, other countries with historical architectural influences may also feature high door knobs.

4. Can I install a high door knob in my home?

Yes, it's possible to install a high door knob in your home, but it's important to consider the practical implications for all users.

5. Why do some English doors also have a lower door handle?

The lower handle is usually a modern addition, added for practicality to facilitate easier access, especially for children and shorter individuals.

6. Do high door knobs affect the value of a property?

High door knobs in themselves don't directly affect the value of a property. However, they may add to the charm and character of historical properties, which can be attractive to certain buyers.


So there you have it, a comprehensive explanation as to why English door knobs are so high. From historical traditions to practical reasons and the desire to maintain a connection with the past, this unique architectural detail is more than just a curiosity. It's a testament to England's rich architectural heritage and the nation's penchant for preserving its distinct identity.

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