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Internal Door Locks – Victorian Mortice Locks

Horizontal vs Vertical Mortice locks

The horizontal style of mortice lock is different to the more modern vertical mortice lock. The horizontal mortice locks have the key hole and handle side by side along the mortice lock as opposed to the modern vertical mortice lock where the keyhole and handle are in line above and below one another.

Many older properties built in the early 20th Century were built with the doors installed with the horizontal style of mortice locks as the more common type of handle used was the knob style. The reason they installed the horizontal locks over the vertical mortice locks is the spindle follower for the handles is taken further away from the edge of the door so that you can turn the knobs without catching your knuckles on the door frame.

Styles and Sizes

Due to the popularity of this style of horizontal mortice lock back in the day there were lots of different variations created over the years with different shapes and sizes. The main differences were the distance of the backset to the keyhole and the backset to the spindle follower, all the old lock manufacturers tried to be slightly different to the next ( probably a way to ensure that when the locks were replaced the customers could only go back to that specific manufacturer) the problem with this is when they either stopped making this type of lock or went out of business there was no way to neatly replace this type of lock as all the locks you can get have different sizes and this is now the case.

There are a few manufacturers that still make the horizontal locks (Union and Imperial are the large 2 manufacturers) but they only make 2 versions a 5 inch and 6 inch lock so if the backsets do not match the locks that are fitted in your door then there is no option but to re-drill and move the keyhole and handles which is not an ideal solution on some doors.


So all depending on the reasons for changing the mortice lock there are a few different ways to solve the issues.

If you are replacing an old lock as there are no keys and you wish to be able to lock the door there are ways we can help. The Lockshop Warehouse can get certain parts for the older locks so there is a possibility that instead of changing the lock you can post the lock to us and we can make keys for your old lock. Please get in touch with our team here and we can run through the process to see if this is possible.

If your replacing the mortice lock as the springs internally have snapped and the latch no longer returns out of the lock body this again can be fixed so if you get in touch with the Lockshop Warehouse we can talk through the best ways to fix this.

Sometimes with these locks the lock completely breaks and can not be fixed or the lock is removed from the door and lost over time so there for there is no option but to replace the lock unit. The best way to do this is to measure the lock you have (or the holes in the door) and compare them against the Union 2077 lock we have online, unfortunately a lot of the times the sizes will not match but there are repair plates that we can offer to cover any holes that may show on the door after the new lock has been installed.

These locks can be tricky to replace and sometimes it can be easier to get in touch with us and we can assist you in either finding a suitable replacement or returning the lock for us to mend and make keys for. Please feel free to call us on 01323 416426 or email at [email protected]