Front Doors

The cycle was every seven years, they were painted green and cream. It was Brilliant Green, it was made by W&J Leigh, of Bolton, that was the manufacturers, and it was made specially for us, it wasn’t a general colour, they made thousands of gallons of green, and green undercoat obviously, and it was all Brilliant Green. But it was the same type of paint that was made for the Forth Bridge, it never went blue or yellow, a green paint usually fades into either yellow or blue, but there are still some green doors around the estate now, and they are still green.

Roger Dear, former Local Manager, Warner Estates

Green and cream. And that green was made special by a firm, it used to come in lorryloads. Boring green.

Ray Holmes, painter and decorator, Warner Estates

B: Right up until I started work, which was in 1962, I can never ever remember having a key for the door, we had a string on the door, and I used to come home from school, put my hand through the letter box, pull the string and the door used to open. Security of a night, was: “anybody taken the string off?” you know, off the door, it used to pull the latch. That was the security, taking the string off. And during the day, we used to have different insurance men who used to come, and the books just used to be on the stairs with the money, and the insurance man used to come, and he’d pull the string, Mr Telfer, his name was, he would pull the string, he’d take the money and he’d mark it down in the books, different insurances and endowments, I don’t know, you didn’t lock the doors at all. When we started work in the early sixties, I think we both got given a key each, and it wasn’t a Yale lock, it was one of those big keys about four inches long, big metal key, and before that I can never ever remember having a key for the door.

S: Warner’s used to come about every two years and repaint the outside, and it was a bit like the Forth Bridge.

B: I can remember the Warners coming and painting, and you really used to smell the paint, and you used to have all the windows open, and it’d be the green front door, and it’d be the cream round the windows

S: And they even used to paint the black letterbox

B: Yeah, paint the black letterboxes

Bob & Sylvia, Keith Road

You can look at the window sill and see where the paint is lifting off royally, outside. And I’ve got to get written permission to do it. But somebody further along the road, I thought they’d bought the tenancy, because they’ve got a burgundy coloured front door, but she said no, we just decided to paint ours and we’ve never heard anything from anybody. So I thought, oh right. But I keep mine clean anyway. Just because it’s a council flat, doesn’t mean you have to live like you’re in a slum, does it. But it might have something to do with my age, because I think lots of people do think you have to live like you’re in a slum.

Paul, Leucha Road

The front doors are lovely, it’ll never be replaced with a double glazed plastic one, I just love the front door, I suppose it’s a nostalgia thing in some ways. But I’ve got all the stuff to fit it out, nice new letter box and all the rest of it but I haven’t put them on yet. The problem with the old front doors, and there was only one, as far as I could see, is that it had a very very small letter box. So if you’re expecting post of any sort, the postman had to knock on the door and then you never got the letter. So the first thing I thought was I’ll enlarge the letter box so for the biggest metal letter flap I can find. Which I’ve got in the box, but I haven’t got round to putting it on.

I like the Warner green and white, but there’s not enough houses or flats that have been kept in it, to make sense to redo it like that. I think it would look a bit odd if I painted my upstairs flat in green and white on the outside and the downstairs flat was painted something different.

Martin, Lloyd Road

D: I think we’re going to put up some trellis and have some roses, to make it look a little bit brighter, because someone up the road’s done that and I think it looks really pretty.

E: And they also left behind one of the Warner front doors

D: The original ones

E: And we just want to try and restore and put that on as well

D: It’s in the front room at the moment isn’t it

E: Yeah it’s got the old iron letter box that is absolutely tiny

D: But it hasn’t got any glass, or anything

E: It’s rare that you see all four doors, you know when the doors are bunched together, it’s rare when you see all four with the traditional doors. But it’s nice when you do.

Daisy and Edd

Comments (8)

  1. Inez

    Hi there. I’m trying to source an original door for restoration to restore my Warner flat to its original look. can anyone help me find one.? Or does anyone want to sell one?

  2. Ian


    I would like to source an original Warner front door (Hinge on left hand side, lock on right hand side when viewing from the road).

    Please email me if you have one for sale or can put me in contact with someone who is selling one.

    • exwarnerproject

      hi Ian, they are hard to come by but do come up occasionally – keep an eye out at the Door Shop on Lea Bridge Road, Ruby Stables, local selling sites and even skips. People do still get rid of them and sometimes you can just pick one up when they are having theirs replaced. Good luck! Lucy

  3. Gareth


    Any idea how I might get a hold of this colour? Or if there’s an equivalent modern colour?

    Thanks so much.

    ps. Love this project. Amazing work.

  4. Gareth

    Never mind! Just saw the ‘Conservation and Repair’ page.

    Thanks thanks!

  5. John

    I have a original Warner door for sale 07960256554 John door shop 248 Lea Bridge Road

  6. Stephen


    In case anyone comes here looking for a door, I have one (hinge on the RHS looking from the road), to sell. Width is 810mm.

    Message me if interested.