Hand over fist

There is usually something a little strange about disembodied hands (or arms or legs or other extremities). My husband has a habit of managing to sleep with one arm thrust under his pillow and a hand dangling over my head. Many a time I have been alarmed at the sight or touch of this disembodied hand in the night! Thankfully though I am not disturbed by knockers with hands.

Alcúdia, Mallorca

The little hand clutching a ball (or occasionally an apple) is called The hand of Fatima. A symbol of protection, it is a common door knocker in Mediterranean countries but originated in Muslim countries where Fatima was the Prophet’s daughter. This ancient symbol was called Miriam’s hand in the Jewish faith. Sometimes the hand wears a ring or two, sometimes a cuff or bracelet. There are some that are flat and very stylised, hardly recognisable as hands at all.

Axminster, Devon

Cromer, Norfolk

Other hands on your knockers (sorry, I can’t help myself) include what I think of ‘hand and laurel’ but apparently is actually called “The Wellington”.

Bridport, Dorset

Apparently the creation of it has been credited to a London ironmonger called David Bray in 1814, celebrating the Duke of Wellington’s victories in Spain and Portugal. The hand of the “immortal hero” grasps a field Marshall’s baton and a wreath of victory. Until I read about it on Shannon Selin’s wonderful blog post about its history I hadn’t really noted the lion at the base, which apparently represents British valour overpowering tyranny.

Ipswich, Suffolk

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Call the marines

Fish door knocker in Lavenham, Suffolk

Here’s a lovely selection of marine-themed door knockers. There are some repeat designs and some that must surely be unique

Fish door knocker in Lavenham, Suffolk

These two are the same design and by coincidence both are not in seaside locations

Fish door knocker in Woodstock, Oxfordshire

Fish door knocker in Woodstock, Oxfordshire

A chunky trident-tailed example

Crab door knocker in Cromer, Norfolk

A crab, adorning a door in a seaside town famous for crab

Fish door knocker in Lindisfarne, Northumberland

Rather stylised fish on this island door

Fish door knocker in Portsoy, Scotland

Spyglass knocker in Southwold, Suffolk

Which came first, the spyglass knocker or the name of the house(also spyglass, if you hadn’t guessed)?

Mermaid door knocker in Southwold, Suffolk

On the door next to the Nelson pub

It looks like this could be a double knock, tail the head. Of course I couldn’t have tried it out people think I am strange enough taking photos, imagine if I started knocking them as well

Fish door knocker in Southwold, Suffolk

A bit blurry, sorry. The pavement was very narrow and there were many tourists

Ship’s wheel door knocker in Southwold, Suffolk

Maybe the captain lives here?

Anchor door knocker in Southwold, Suffolk

their safe port

Ship in sail door knocker in Brinklow, Warwickshire

another landlocked example.

The first catch

Fish door knocker

Though I love my fish door knocker this is the one I really wanted to find when I started my search. This is the first fish knocker I ever snapped and was exactly what I wanted from a fish knocker (something I had never even realised I wanted until seconds before I took this last year in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire).

I have since seen quite a few marine-themed knockers, so maybe that should be the theme of my next post

Norton, Northamptonshire

Fish Knocker
Fish Knocker, Northamptonshire.

My fish door knocker, Northamptonshire

Why door knockers?

It seems logical to start a new blog about door knockers with my very own door knocker. Meet the little brass fish who lives on our front door. He has a cheerful smile that can’t quite been seen until you pick him up to use him and he is loose in his movement, wobbling more than he probably should.

He isn’t exactly the fish knocker I really wanted. When I decided that it had to be a fish door knocker I discovered that there weren’t actually many fish door knockers available (especially when you live in the middle of the country, hours from the seaside). All the ones I found were a bit same-y with of dolphins which were nice but weren’t really what I was looking for. Eventually I found this little fella on eBay, hand-made in India and located there too. Less than £18 and a surprisingly swift 5 days later he was mine.

But why door knockers?!

Yeah I don’t really know why. My husband and friends might be walking and talking before suddenly realising that they have lost me, I have stopped to look and photograph some knocker or knob.

All I know is I get excited by seeing unusual door furniture and when I started sharing the pictures on Instagram it seemed other people liked them too. So I decided to group them together instead.