History of Locks Heritage Room open to all in new Master Locksmith Association Headquarters

Following the opening of the new MLA headquarters in Rugby on the 8th June 2019, a special heritage room containing samples from Lock Historian Brian Morland’s History of Locks Museum has been put together not only for members and affiliates of the MLA to enjoy, but is also open to the public.

The idea of a museum dedicated to the world of the locksmith was first conceived back in the 1960’s. Brian Morland had recently joined the family locksmithing business after attending the local technical college. But even before that as a schoolboy it was apparent Brian had a very inquiring mind into all things mechanical.

It wasn’t long before a conscious commitment was made to build a representative collection of the products of the locksmith and the dream that one day they could be displayed.

Today the family business, a traditional locksmith shop, suppling modern keys, locks and workshop services, continues but in a different capacity; now designated ‘Not for Profit’ in the normal sense but is solely to enable the establishment and benefit of the museum allowing it to function without relying on grants and donations from the trade and well-wishers (although very welcome and appreciative).

In today’s world there seems little appetite for the lock industry itself to record its heritage. Certainly some companies keep token collections

Brian’s collections fall into three main groups, The Reference Collection, The Heritage Collection, and of course The Archives.

The Reference Collection is where an example of each known lock is found out and preserved. It is from these locks that representative examples are used in The Heritage Collection illustrating features, principles and other facts about the piece.

The Heritage Collection is a touring or pop-up selection of items that are displayed at exhibitions. Within this collection are cutaway and interactive models to help explain visually the purpose or feature of a particular lock, all to help inspire both the technical aspect of security but also the very important humanities side of the subject as well.

Archive – We have always endeavoured to document and tell the back stories relating to our artefacts and we are particularly active in the bringing into our archive the books, manufactures catalogues, letters and all manner of relevant documents and ephemera. This has proved invaluable when writing up research papers and articles. Brian is in the process of bringing all writing and research since the early days into one work and simply entitled ‘The History of Locks’.

It’s important that both the artefacts and the archive are accessible to all to see so in addition to the research in Bournemouth we maintain permanent and sort term exhibitions around the country.

The Heritage Room at the Master Locksmiths Association’s HQ in Rugby is an example of a permanent exhibition; the items on display though are constantly evolving so there is always something new to see.

It is always open to members, affiliates and visitors to MLA HQ. The Heritage Room is also open to the public including non-members, family and friends about once a month on a Saturday (10am – 4pm) the next public open date is 10th August 2019.